The Nationals have rallied against Joe Blanton, while Livan Hernandez has settled down after a bad start. That’s why a game that looked like an easy Phillies win is now a one-run game in the fifth with the Nats leading 3-2.
Washington scored a pair of runs in the third off a triple from a resurgent Pete Orr. He’s hitting .355 since the Nationals called him up last month, and his triple tied the game at 2 after the Phillies scored two off Hernandez in the first. But he’s allowed only a pair of singles since then, getting his off-speed pitches working against the Phillies.
The one play that could haunt the Nats, though, was the one at the end of the fourth. Ian Desmond—who’d collected his first big-league hit and RBI with a double that drove in Elijah Dukes—broke for home on a Livan Hernandez bunt after hesitating briefly. Carlos Ruiz fielded the bunt and threw out Hernandez at first, but Blanton, seeing Ruiz wouldn’t make it back home to tag Desmond, sprinted home, fielded a throw and tagged Desmond on the arm. Or did he? Desmond jumped up incredulously after he was called out, and replays were too close to call. Nevertheless, it cost the Nats a run in a game where that could be costly.