WASHINGTON -- The Nationals entered Saturday's game with the Reds having committed no errors in their last nine games and only 27 on the season, fewest of any MLB team. And yet sloppy fielding played a key role in Saturday's 9-4, 10-inning loss to the Reds.
Two errors -- one by Bryce Harper and one by Ryan Zimmerman -- and a wild pitch in the 10th inning enabled Cincinnati's game-winning rally.
"These things happen," manager Dusty Baker said. "They don't happen to us much, especially those guys, who had committed one error between them. That's just something we have to write off."
The trouble began with nobody out and runners on first and second. Reds speedster Billy Hamilton bunted toward first base, where Zimmerman attempted to field the ball and spin toward third. But in his haste to target the lead runner, he didn't glove the ball, and all runners reached safely, loading the bases.
"Zim makes that play 99 out of 100 times, and that one he didn't, but that was definitely not on him," said Sammy Solis, who was on the mound at the time. "Those two runners should not have been on base. That's on me."
The next batter, Tucker Barnhart, looped a single into right field. Harper booted the ball, allowing an extra run to score and Hamilton to take third. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, a pitch in the dirt from Matt Belisle got by catcher Wilson Ramos, and another run scored.
Two more Reds would score in the inning, putting the game out of reach.
"That really solidified us losing the game," Harper said of the team's poor defense. "It just happens. It's just part of the game."
Zimmerman's error was only his second of the season, and Harper's was his first. But even after the lapses, Washington still has the fewest miscues in the league.
Baker emphasized that the inning was a blip for the typically sure-handed Nationals.
"That's something that's rare for us," Baker said. "We just have to write it off as a real bad inning."
Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.