July 26, 2005 [LINK]

Nats let another close one slip by

Chad Cordero blew a perfect save opportunity in Atlanta tonight, giving up a double to Andruw Jones, a single to Chipper Jones, and a game-tying sac fly to Adam LaRoche. In the tenth, Luis Ayala loaded the bases by hitting the batter, and then threw four straight balls to walk in the winning run. Thus, Livan Hernandez's splendid eight-inning performance was wasted, as was the chance to restore the team's morale. What's really sad is that this gut-wrenching game marked the return of Nick Johnson and Vinny Castilla to the starting lineup, and Jose Guillen started as well, in spite of a sore wrist. The versatile Brad Wilkerson, now playing in left field, nabbed a would-be home run by [Chipper] Jones; he also got three hits, and one RBI. For the first time since June 4, the Nationals are in second place.