The Washington Nationals bullpen couldn’t hold on and a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning turned into an 11-3 slaughter by the Boston Red Sox.
John Lannan went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in baseball, again. The lefty pitched 6.1 strong, scattering nine hits, allowing three earned runs, and recording three strikeouts.
Up until this point the Nationals line up had kept pace with the Red Sox. A few doubles and good base running had given the Nationals three runs through the fourth. Adam Dunn came through in the first to drive Zimmerman in, and Harris doubled in Bard in the sixth.
But as the Nationals have done all year, and as is the trademark of most bad teams, the Nationals fell apart at the seams when it mattered.
After John Lannan ended his performance by striking out J.D Drew, former Bo-Sox Julian Taverez came in to finish off the inning. The defense failed him. Kevin Youkilis soon reached first on yet another Ryan Zimmerman throwing error. Jason Bay then hit a bloop single that probably should have been caught, but at the very least should have been hustled to. The lack of effort to get to the Texas leaguer resulted in an extra base for the not-so-speedy Youkalis; instead of the Nationals having first and second with one out they had second and third with one out.
The Nationals then decided to intentionally load the bases to get to a .220 hitting Jason Vaitek, and set up the double play force in the process. Varitek hit a fly ball to left, one that deserved a shot at home plate, yet Adam Dunn cut off centerfielder Willie Harris, caught the ball, looked back and Willie Harris, and gently threw the ball to third, challenging nothing.
With that, the Nationals were now playing form behind against one of the best bullpens in baseball.
After this things steamrolled, and the Nationals let up seven more runs in two innings.