Nationals - 100 000 201 - 4 7 0 Red Sox - 001 100 100 - 3 8 0Alternate Post Title: Umpire Alan Porter Is A Disgrace
Alfredo Aceves had pretty clearly struck out Roger Bernadina to end the top of the ninth inning (#4). But home plate umpire Alan Porter - who had a very pitcher-friendly strike zone (as opposed to a rules-friendly zone) all afternoon - suddenly had some sort of paralysis in his right arm. On what was an 0-4 count, Bernadina smacked a high fastball to right for a double, scoring Bryce Harper with what turned out to be the winning run.
In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and Mike Aviles on first base, Porter called a strike on Dustin Pedroia that was outside (#3). Indeed, it was clearly further outside than either of the two pitches that Aceves had thrown a few minutes earlier.
Bobby Valentine went nuts in the dugout and was promptly ejected, and then stormed out to scream "motherfucker" in Porter's face for awhile, to the delight of the crowd. (Valentine continued ripping the umpires in his post-game interview.) Pedroia, knowing he had to swing at anything or risk being rung up, fouled off another ball (#4) and swung and missed on a pitch in the dirt (#5) to end the game and give the Nationals, whose pitchers don't need any extra help from the men in blue, a three-game sweep.
The game is simple. Throw over the plate, call it a strike. Don't throw it over the plate, call it a ball. It's simple. That's all anybody asks.Letting Lester (7-6-3-2-9, 107) begin the seventh (at 92 pitches) was fine, but when he allowed two singles on his first two pitches, it was time to get the pen up in a hurry. Andrew Miller was warming while Lester got the next two Nats. Then Espinsoa doubled off the Wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Darnell McDonald. That turned a 2-1 Boston lead into a 2-3 deficit.
The Red Sox came storming back after the stretch. Ryan Sweeney and Nick Punto both singled. McDonald bunted them over, and Sweeney scored on Scott Podsednik's grounder to shortstop.
David Ortiz lined his 14th home run over the visitors bullpen in the fourth inning. Ortiz also singled and doubled.
Boston dropped to 29-31 (6 GB). They start a three-game set with the Miami Marlins tomorrow night.
Lester has a 6.75 ERA in his last four starts, with a .927 opponents' OPS. He has allowed at least four runs in five of his last six starts.
Nava, LFPodsednik, CF
Podsednik, CFPunto, SS
Punto, SSMcDonald, LF
Zimmermann has pitched at least six innings in all 11 of his starts this season.