With three runs and four hits in the first inning — and the lead, too! — the P-Nats looked like they just might snap out of the funk they’ve been in at home. With Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup and manning third base, things looked promising.
Unfortunately, when it comes to losing in baseball, it’s not only contagious, it’s confounding in its creativity. Potomac would outhit Frederick 12-7, but two costly errors on defense and two costly baserunning blunders would be the difference in a 6-4 loss, the 10th straight at home.
To give Frederick some credit, three of the six runs were scored solidly: a fifth inning double after a hit batsmen and a two-run HR in the sixth off Dean Weaver, who took the loss in the game.
But to dole out some blame, baserunning errors in the fourth and fifth by Potomac didn’t help. Sandy Leon tried to advance to third base from first on an overthrown grounder to third base. Eury Perez got a little greedy and tried to take an extra base after leading off the fifth with a single to center. Maybe you can write off one of these as just plain bad luck, but not both.
The metaphorical buzzards kept circling for the third straight inning in the sixth when Destin Hood, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI double on the night and J.P. Ramirez led off with back-to-back singles. Leon sacrificed them to second and third, but a strikeout to Justino Cuevas and a “Hey there Z-man, I can do that, too” play by Key third baseman Dale Mollenhauer charged in and got Cutter Dykstra’s tapper down the line, tossing across the diamond to end the inning.
Speaking of Zimmerman, he batted third but went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, making two plays in the field — one for an error, that a more accomplished first baseman might have saved, the other a cut-across-the-infield scoop and throw on the run that was, well, like a Gold Glover might make.
As of this writing, the pitching line for Pat Lehman is missing from the boxscore, but he followed Weaver for an inning, allowing Zimmerman’s error to score on a sacrifice fly but also getting two ground balls in his first appearance in three-plus weeks. Marcos Frias finished with two strong innings, allowing just a single and striking out one.
Danny Rosenbaum, who threw a three-hit shutout in his last outing, gets the call tonight against Frederick to stop the streak and prevent a four-game sweep. Oliver Drake is the opposing moundsman for Frederick as the Keys go for their ninth straight win overall and continue the march towards the first-half division title.