Bill Ladson

Lost challenge proves costly to Nationals

Williams unable to get review on Harper grounder in 6th inning of loss to Cubs

Lost challenge proves costly to Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had some plays that went against them in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Thursday at Nationals Park.

In the fourth inning, Danny Espinosa was called out at second base on a steal attempt. Espinosa protested that he beat the tag, and the Nationals challenged the play. After two minutes and 34 seconds, the play was confirmed and the Nationals lost their challenge.

Play at second confirmed

Losing their challenge proved costly. In the sixth inning, Denard Span scored on a groundout by Bryce Harper and it appeared Harper beat the play for an infield single. In fact, Harper stood at first base expecting the play to be challenged. But manager Matt Williams couldn't do anything about it.

"We don't have a challenge left. We can't go out there for that challenge," Williams said. "We used it with Espy on the stolen base and felt confident that he was in there. But they ruled otherwise."

Harper felt the play at first was pretty close. When he looked at the video, it was clear to Harper that he was safe. It would have meant bases loaded, one out and Ryan Zimmerman coming to the plate.

"That would have changed the momentum of the game. That's pretty rough. It [stinks]," Harper said.

Zimmerman was then hit a by pitch, and Ian Desmond lined out to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to end the threat.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.