The Washington Times - April 17, 2009, 10:19PM

We hadn’t seen Joel Hanrahan in a save situation yet this season … until tonight. Nats fans had better hope their closer performs better the next time he’s called upon with a slim lead in the ninth.

Hanrahan served up a solo homer to Cody Ross with one out in the top of the ninth, allowing the Marlins to tie the game 2-2 and ultimately send it to extra innings. On a 2-2 count, Hanrahan tried to force a slider past Ross, but he hung it over the plate and it was crushed over the left-field fence. What remained of the crowd of 19,026 (smallest in Nationals Park history) let out a bit of a groan, realizing what this meant.


What it means is that John Lannan was victimized yet again by a lack of run support or bullpen help and was tagged with a hard-luck no-decision despite allowing one run and three hits in 6 1/3 sparkling innings. Tough break for Lannan, who suffered a similar fate all too often last year.

What it also means is the Nats are without their top slugger the rest of the night. Holding a 2-1 lead, bench coach Jim Riggleman (filling in after Manny Acta was ejected after the third inning) pulled a double switch and put Roger Bernadina in right field for defensive purposes. The move made perfect sense, given Dunn’s adventures in the outfield, but it also took his bat out of the lineup. Which is now a problem because we’re still playing and the Nats are going to have to score another run to win this game.