Desmond got caught trying to steal third base after being sent back to second when his apparent homer in the fifth inning was wiped away. Bryce Harper also wound up in a rundown after a pitchout when he tried to steal second in the second inning. And Adam LaRoche was thrown out at home in the fourth.
“As players, we like it when a third-base coach is aggressive,” LaRoche said, then bemoaning that his team “gave up some outs.”
Said teammate Ryan Zimmerman: “We need to put pressure on the other team, as long as it’s intelligent.”
Desmond’s blunder came in the fifth inning, right after he hit a liner that Braves left fielder Justin Upton watched nestle underneath some green wall padding. Initially, instead of trying to make a play, Upton threw his arms up, waiting for a call from the umpires.
All the while, Desmond kept running, making it all the way around the bases, apparently tying the game at 1-all.
Hold on, though.
This is a new era in the majors, where all sorts of plays can be reviewed and changed. So Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the non-call, and Desmond was sent back to second base after a five-minute delay.
But Desmond immediately got caught stealing.
“I thought I had something,” Desmond said. “Then about halfway, I didn’t have what I thought I had and (then it was) panic mode at that point.”
Rookie manager Matt Williams called it “a little over-aggressive.”
The result spoiled the Nationals’ home opener and gave Williams his first loss following a 3-0 start.
Williams did not agree with the way the review went, pointing out that Upton did eventually grab the ball and heave it toward the infield.
“One of the reasons we have replay is to make sure that we get the calls right. I have a question with that one, though, because of what happened after the fact,” Williams said. “The fact that when he had to, he reached down and threw it in.”