Nationals Can't Hold On To Lead, Lose To The Astros In The Ninth

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Ryan Zimmerman Believes Lance Berkman Swung

The National's blew a 9th inning lead last night, but not without some controversy. Matt Capps thought that he had the game won, but a controversial check swing call against Lance Berkman was ruled a ball and on the the very next pitch Berkman drove in the winning run.

Ryan Zimmerman, for one, was not happy about the call:

"Yeah, he swung," Zimmerman said. "It's over with now, but I think we should have won that game."

When told he could be fined for his comments, Zimmerman followed up with this beauty:

"Its worth it."

Manager Jim Riggleman was more understated in his comments:

"It's just a philosophical thing. For me, a check swing is one of those calls in the game that there's very little consistency on it. Nobody really knows what it is, what it isn't. If you check-swing, to me, that means the pitcher beat the hitter. You know? If there's a gray [area], it should be a strike. There's a way to take a strike, and it's not in the form of a check swing. It works that way for both clubs. Tonight, I think it burned us. As far as I was concerned, we had the strikeout at the end."

This is the second game in a row in which Umpire Bill Hohn has made his presence felt. In Monday's game, Hohn ejected Astros ace Roy Oswalt for arguing balls and strikes. Last night, a dubious check swing call that went against the Nationals. Who knows what Hohn has up his sleeve for tonight's game?


8:05 P.M.: Nationals Look For Second Straight Win Over The Astros

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Lance Berkman flared a game-winning, two-run single down the left-field line in the last of the ninth to give Houston an 8-7 triumph over Washington after themselves blowing a ninth-inning lead.

After Astros closer Matt Lindstrom blew a 6-5 lead in the top half of the ninth, Nationals closer Matt Capps (0-2) came on to protect a newly-acquired 7-6 edge.

Ryan Zimmerman error opened the door for Houston to load the bases with one out. Cory Sullivan cracked a pinch-hit double to deep left-center and Michael Bourn was intentionally walked to fill the sacks.

Jeff Keppinger broke his bat on a soft bouncer to second and Cristian Guzman's throw beat Pedro Feliz home for the second out. But Berkman ended it with a poke to shallow left off the end of his bat on a 2-2 count.

The back-and-forth ending made a winner out of Wilton Lopez (2-0), who effectively relieved Lindstrom with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the ninth.

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