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Rehashing a strange 3rd inning


Rehashing a strange 3rd inning

PITTSBURGH -- The overarching storyline to last night's 4-2 loss, of course, was the Nationals' utter inability to make contact at the plate. But the evening's outcome might also have been different if not for a very strange bottom of the third inning in which the Pirates scored three runs in less-than-conventional fashion.

"We definitely want the third inning back," said Ross Detwiler, who had the misfortune of standing on the mound as it all played out.

Here's a recap of the inning...

-- Detwiler strikes out Pirates pitcher Brad Lincoln, but the ball gets away from catcher Wilson Ramos, and Lincoln winds up reaching first base on the wild pitch.

-- Jose Tabata smokes a ball back up the middle, it ricochets off Detwiler's foot and into shallow right field for a single.

-- Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen each single to right-center, each driving in a run.

-- Pedro Alvarez sends a harp chopper to third, which Ryan Zimmerman deftly scoops up and then gets Walker into a rundown between third base and home plate.

-- Casey McGehee sends a groundball to the hole at short. Ian Desmond gets the ball and thinks he can catch McCutchen rounding third too far. But McCutchen sees that Desmond is about to throw behind him and instead keeps running toward the plate, scoring ahead of the throw to make it 3-0.

"When I got to third, I was thinking of trying to score on the throw to first," McCutchen said. "He hesitated a little bit, and it was just enough to let me score."

Desmond gave all the credit to McCutchen's hustle.

"He made a good baserunning play there," the shortstop said. "I kept it in the infield. I would say nine or 10 times out 10, the runner stops and tries to dive back into third. He saw that I fielded it, and he looked at me and then just darted towards home. I had to make sure I had a good grip on the ball. It was just too late. A good baserunning play by him. And obviously, his speed helped."

Much of what transpired during the inning was out of Detwiler's control. But the left-hander did beat himself up for not trying to disrupt the pace of the inning.

"Really, you've got to just slow it down," he said. "That's one thing I didn't do. I didn't step off. I didn't slow it down. I just let it keep rolling too long. And by the time I did do that, it was too late, there were already three runs on the board."

And, given the current state of the Nationals' lineup, three runs were all Pittsburgh needed to win the game ... and the series.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.