Defensive miscues in the outfield due to a standard case of sun-in-the-eyes came back to to haunt the Nats. That coupled with relieve pitcher Ryan Mattheus’ performance in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon’ is what lost Washington the game 6-2 versus Milwaukee. While it wasn’t a particularly poor outing for Mattheus, the Brewers mounted a three-run rally in the seventh that the Nats couldn’t come back from.
The game’s starter, Chien-Ming Wang, had a better day on the mound than his line (and the game’s results) indicate. Wang pitched four innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs while striking out two over 69 pitches (47 strikes). Manager Davey Johnson was happy with the starter’s performance going on to say that could even see Wang getting at least one more start this season. Though, that is still to be determined.
During the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. a blinding light called the sun peers over the stadium façade directly into the eyes of center and right field. This is something that rookie outfielder Bryce Harper is still getting used to – he had a couple gaffs in the field due to losing fly balls mid-air. He’s still learning out there, Johnson said, but Harper wasn’t alone in his struggles.
Even veteran outfielder Jayson Werth, who Johnson defended after the fact, had his fair share of trouble. It was a “tough sun,” according to Johnson, and not even Werth could manage the perfect glove shield.
Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa scored the only two runs of the game for Washington in the fifth inning to tie the game up at two runs a piece after the Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Desmond drew a leadoff walk against Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo and made it to third on a down-the-line double from Espinosa to left field. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy proceeded to drive in Desmond with a single to right field and Werth popped a sacrifice fly to left field allowing Espinosa to score.
The Nats stayed in the game as best as they could but the Brewers’ pounding of Mattheus in the seventh inning made winning the game seem as if it were an impossible feat. From the fifth inning on, Washington only managed one hit – a Desmond double off reliever Brandon Kintzler in the sixth.