WASHINGTON -- After seeing a six-run lead slip away in their 8-7 loss to the Mets on Tuesday night, the Nationals had a chance to at least tie the game in the ninth inning against closer Jeurys Familia. But a strange and ultimately frustrating sequence of events caused them to come up just short.
After Jayson Werth led off with a single, manager Matt Williams called for Anthony Rendon to try to advance Werth with a sacrifice bunt. But Rendon, who has not sacrificed in 2015 and has only four sacrifice bunts in his Major League career, didn't get the job done. On a 3-1 count, Rendon bunted into a fielder's choice at second base.
When he is healthy, Rendon is considered one of the team's best RBI guys. However, Williams didn't think about having Rendon swing away until Rendon reached a full count. With Familia being a groundball pitcher, Williams was thinking that Rendon could ground into a double play.
"[Rendon] bunted too hard. We had a chance to get Jayson on second base with our best hitters coming to the plate and it didn't work," Williams said.
After Bryce Harper walked, putting the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base, Yunel Escobar hit into a double play to end the game. The Mets increased their lead to six games over the Nationals in the National League East.
"Familia is one of the best in the game," Harper said. "Ninety-six miles per hour, it's absolutely dirty. He quick pitches with that curveball that he throws also. He is one of the best out there. Sometimes, you have to tip your cap and hope to get him next time."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.