September 20, 2005 [LINK]
Nats blow late-inning lead again
For all the media hoopla surrounding the return of Barry Bonds, I would have thought there would have been a bigger crowd at RFK Stadium tonight. Attendance was only a little above average, however: 32,403. Before the game, Bonds deflected reporters' questions about the steroid investigations by saying that Congress has more important things to deal with, such as disaster victims. Good point, Barry! Go hide behind some distraught homeless family while you rake in your megabucks salary. In the fourth inning, Bonds exchanged words with a hostile fan, and then unleashed his anger by smashing his 706th career home run, which landed in the seventh row of the upper deck in right field. Nats' starter Livan Hernandez only gave up two other hits and one walk through the first eight innings, another masterful performance. As usual, however, he got measly run support and clung to a precarious one-run lead going into the climactic ninth inning. Hernandez walked Omar Vizquel and Bonds, and then gave up a three-run homer to former Expo (!) Moises Alou. Ughhh... Just like their previous two games, the Nationals gave up the lead in the late innings, but this time they came roaring back in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with only one out after Vinny Castilla doubled and two others got bases on balls. Rookie pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI sac fly to close the gap to one run, and Brad Wilkerson hit a long fly ball to left field that Todd Linden just barely snagged while diving into the warning track dirt. It was only a matter of inches between a game-winning double and the final out. So, once again, the Nationals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, falling to five games behind the Astros in the wild card race. You gotta give them credit for fighting till the end, however. You won't find many teams that have endured as many agonizing twists of fate as the Washington Nationals have, and still played hard in the next game. The Nats are a true class act.
As their roller-coaster inaugural baseball season draws to a close, Washington fans can at least draw solace from the football game in Dallas last night. I stepped away from the television for a few minutes in the fourth quarter when the Redskins were behind 13-0, and when I returned the score was 14-13. Huh??? The last time they beat the Cowboys on their home field was ten years ago!