Nats closer Rafael Soriano was one strike away from the save on Tuesday night before a Gregor Blanco triple sailed over the head of Bryce Harper in right field, sending the game into extra innings and setting up a walkoff win for San Francisco. Soriano took the blown save, his second in as many outings, but afterwards decided he wouldn’t take full ownership of what happened.
Soriano instead cited Harper’s mistake, saying the young outfielder should have been in position to make the play. Harper flinched and held up right before the wall, an apparent reaction stemming from his collision with the wall at Dodger Stadium last week.
"With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn't go over your head,” he said.
“It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we're positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, 'You know where you need to play,' and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It's not an excuse, and I'm not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that's how you play the game.''
Soriano made the comments in Spanish after speaking with other reporters in English.
Harper admitted he hesitated on the play, not wanting to run directly into the wall. It played a role in the game, but so did Soriano’s pitch to Blanco. Major league players rarely throw their teammates under the bus and this will just make matters even worse for the Nationals. Not only are they losing, they now have a locker room dynamic they steered clear of last season: a potential rift between two primary players.