Defensive miscues cost P-Nats

Three errors doomed the Potomac Nationals on Sunday in Kinston, contributing to three unearned runs in a 5-4 series-opening victory for the Indians. With the loss – in which the Nationals committed multiple errors for the 11th time in their last 18 games – Potomac has dropped three straight games, while the Indians notched their sixth consecutive win. The P-Nats have now lost seven of the first eight games with the Indians in 2011.

The Nationals (30-43) surged out in front with a helping hand from the Indians’ defense in the second inning. After K-Tribe (42-31) starter T.J. House walked Steven Souza to open the inning (he would walk four batters for the third time in four starts), House retired J.P. Ramirez and then hit Sandy Leon. After Souza stole third, J.R. Higley hit a bouncing ball to third that scooted under the glove of Adam Abraham and all the way into the left field corner, scoring Souza and putting runners at second and third. Justino Cuevas then roped a double to deep left field that put Potomac ahead 3-0.

The lead was short-lived. Cameron Selik never looked comfortable on Sunday afternoon, and gave three runs back in the Kinston second. After Abner Abreu led off the frame with a single, Chase Burnette hit a chopper to second base. Jeff Kobernus ranged to his left to glove it, but his throw drew Cuevas off the second base bag. The throwing error would bite the Nats: after Tyler Cannon flied to right, Doug Pickens singled to left field to score Abreu. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Delvi Cid singled to pull the Tribe within one. Casey Frawley’s sacrifice fly scored a third, unearned run to tie the game at three.

Potomac took back the lead in the fourth when J.R. Higley homered to deep left field.

Casey Frawley hit a blooper to shallow center field to open the fifth. Jeff Kobernus raced back on it but the ball kicked off his glove. After Anthony Gallas flied out to right, Adam Abraham hit what appeared to be a double play ball to short. The ball skipped through the legs of Cuevas and put runners at first and second. Abreu then tripled to right to plate two runs and give the Tribe a lead they would never relinquish.

Kyle Landis and Rob Bryson kept the Nationals’ offense at bay for four and two thirds innings of relief; Potomac mustered just two hits off the relievers.

The Nationals look to snap their three-game slide on Monday in Kinston with Danny Rosenbaum on the mound against Clayton Cook at 6:30 P.M.

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