By the end of the 4 hour 49 minute, 14-inning Nats-Yankees game at Nationals Park Saturday afternoon, it was easy to forget that right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann even started the game. The Nats took a 5-3 loss, their fourth extra inning loss this season, after reliever Brad Lidge gave up a two-run double to Yankees first baseman Mark Texeria in the fourteenth.
While much of the focus on Twitter and in the post-game press conference with Manager Davey Johnson drew attention to Bryce Harper’s poor day at the plate – he went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts – the Nats lost the game because they couldn’t rally offensively in the later innings.
Washington scored early, leading the Yankees 2-0 through the first four innings until New York scored in the fourth. The Yankees eventually took a one run-lead in the sixth inning but the Nats answered back yet again with a solo homerun off the bat of shortstop Ian Desmond in the eighth off right-handed pitcher Cory Wade to tie up the game at three runs a piece.
The true saving grace for Washington came in form of the bullpen – minus Lidge’s outing – which included seven scoreless innings of work. Reliever Craig Stammen had the lengthiest bullpen performance of the day with three innings pitched, one intentional walk, and two strikeouts.
It should be said that Zimmermann pitched a decent game to start things off for the Nats. But even still, the six innings pitched and five hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and six strikeouts against the Brooklyn Bombers over 108 pitches (69 for strikes) couldn’t match the numbers posted by veteran left-handed starter Andy Pettitte. Pettite threw seven innings and gave up five hits, two runs, and three walks while striking out six over 95 pitches (61 for strikes)
The Nats had two big opportunities to try and win it throughout the game, but as Johnson said after the fact, “We had our opportunities, we just couldn’t do it.”
The first chance the Nats had to secure the go-ahead run after falling behind was in the eighth inning when Desmond’s home run tied it all up at three a piece. Tyler Moore rounded the bases on an Adam LaRoche pinch hit single as the go-ahead run only to be called out at the dish by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Then, Ryan Zimmerman reached first with no one out in the top of the thirteenth inning on a throwing error made by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter
What was really troublesome for Washington is that they didn’t get any hits between LaRoche’s single in the bottom of the eighth innings up until the bottom of the fourteenth when Jesus Flores and Steve Lombardozzi hit back-to-back singles off reliever Rafael Soriano.
“These are experiences you grow from,” Johnson said after the game. “This is a heck of a ballclub we’re playing and we had our opportunities to win. That’s the way you learn. That’s just part of it.”