MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Drew loses ball in sun in pivotal inning

Drew loses ball in sun in pivotal inning

WASHINGTON -- The sun played a factor in why the Nationals lost to the Marlins, 5-1, on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The game was scoreless in the third inning when the Marlins took the lead. With runners on second and third and two outs, Martin Prado hit a routine popup to second baseman Stephen Drew. It looked like he had a bead on the ball. As it turned out, he couldn't see it and lost it in the sun. The ball dropped to the ground, which allowed J.T. Realmuto and Adeiny Hechavarria to score.

"It's tough. I was just battling [the sun]," Drew said. "It's unfortunate. I tried to move to the left with my glove. I kept seeing the sun. The only time I really saw it was behind my shoulder. That's when I tried to go grab it real quick, but it was too late."

Nationals manager Dusty said it didn't help that Drew and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman didn't communicate on the field. Drew didn't give any indication to Zimmerman that he couldn't see the ball. If he did, there was a possibility Zimmerman could have caught the ball.

Drew was a late addition to the lineup with Daniel Murphy scratched due to illness. It was just Drew's third start at second this season.

"They hadn't played together much," Baker said, referring to Drew and Zimmerman. "I could see from the dugout [Drew] was having trouble with it, but, like I said, they haven't played together, second and first, him and Zim, much. By the time Zim knew he lost it, it was too late."

Zimmerman acknowledged that he should have caught the ball if Drew had given the sign that he was in trouble.

"It was just one of those unfortunate plays," Zimmerman said. "He saw it in the beginning and lost it in the end. When that happens, there isn't much you can do about it."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.