There was a perfect game for three innings. There were four stolen bases. There were five errors and five extra-base hits. And there was a six-run inning.
In other words, it was just another game of “A” baseball.
The Potomac Nationals used that six-run outburst to break a 2-2 tie and even the three-game series with an 8-2 win over the Winston-Salem Dash.
Early on, if you can believe it, this was a pitcher’s duel between Nick Lee and Braulio Ortiz. Lee set down the first nine batters in order without the ball leaving the infield, striking out two in each of the 2nd and 3rd innings. Ortiz allowed just a pair of two-out baserunners in the 2nd.
In the 4th, things got messy.
Dash SS Tim Anderson tripled to the right-center gap to lead things off and break up the perfect game. Lee notched his 5th K on a dropped third strike that Pedro Severino held onto while trying to look back Anderson instead of throwing on down to 1st. It was incorrectly ruled as a wild pitch instead of a fielder’s choice.
Winston-Salem would score when that batter who reached took off for 2nd and Severino threw the ball into centerfield. Anderson, who did not take off until the ball sailed over second base, trotted home for the game’s first run. Severino was not charged with an error, despite Rule 10.07(b)’s explicit instruction.
Lee would leave the game with an unspecified injury after warming up to start the 5th inning, and Dakota Bacus was brought on to relieve on short order. He would turn in three hitless innings of relief with no walks and one strikeout.
Things got worse for Severino when the P-Nat backstop was plunked on the helmet with one out in the 5th, but as is often the case with young pitchers, Ortiz got rattled by the mistake. He would pitch away to Justin Miller and induce a foul pop to first base but when he went inside again to Randolph Oduber, he was tentative. A middle-in fastball became more middle than in and the Groovin’ Aruban drilled it to right-center for a triple to send in Severino, then scored on a dropped relay throw for the 2-1 lead.
Robert Benincasa followed Bacus in the 8th inning but gave up a run on a walk, a two-out single, and a wild pitch to blow the save and let Winston-Salem tie it at 2-2.
Oduber would lead off the bottom of the 8th. Manager Tripp Keister ordered up a sacrifice bunt, which Khayyan Norfork delivered but Dash pitcher Kyle Hansen sailed it up the line, enabling Oduber to take 3rd. Hansen would commit a second error on an errant pickoff throw to score Oduber and give the P-Nats a 3-2 lead.
Kevin Keyes singled in Norfork for the fourth Potomac run and the floodgates opened as Brandon Miller walked, Mike McQuillan bunted his way on, Stephen Perez cracked a two-run double to score Keyes and Miller, Severino hit a sacrifice fly, and Justin Miller doubled to left to plate Perez.
Benincasa pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to earn the (dreaded) blown-save-win.
The series concludes tonight, weather permitting, with Brian Rauh (1-1, 4.58) getting the ball for Potomac against Winston-Salem’s Mike Recchia (1-2, 4.11)