(FREDERICK, MD) A trio of baserunning blunders erased the Potomac Nationals' only real scoring chances on Monday night in Frederick and cost them in a 2-0 loss to the Keys in front of 3,266 at Harry Grove Stadium. Justin Bloxom was picked off at first base to end the game in the ninth inning - a frame in which the Nats put the tying runs aboard with no outs.
Paul Demny pitched well again, but for the sixth time in seven starts received virtually no run support. The P-Nats were shut out for the third time with Demny (1-3) on the mound, and mustered only four hits.
Rick Zagone battled wildness early, but settled in and shut down the Nats en route to his second win in as many attempts with the Keys. Frederick stretched its lead over the last-place Nationals in the Carolina League's Northern Division to eight games.
Potomac had at least two baserunners in the second and third innings against Zagone but botched on the bases in both cases. Bloxom led off the second with a single and moved to second on a Steven Souza walk. But J.P. Ramirez flied out to right before Sandy Leon hit a line drive to center. Bloxom was way off the bag when Miguel Abreau made the catch and got doubled off at second.
In the third, Francisco Soriano walked to open the inning and moved to second on Eury Perez's groundout. Cutter Dykstra then hit a high bouncing single the hole on the left side of the infield, but Soriano inexplicably broke for third and was thrown out by a wide margin.
Demny faced just one more than the minimum in the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third. A leadoff walk to Brian Ward was erased when Ward was picked off at first, and Demny appeared ready to end the inning when he retired Garabez Rosa. But a two-out bloop single by Steve Bumbry was followed by a double from the red-hot Buck Britton to give the Keys a 1-0 lead.
Hoes sparked the sixth-inning rally that doubled Frederick's lead with a single to left. With two outs and Hoes at third, Abreu hit a looping single to right that made it 2-0 Frederick.
The Nationals went down in order in the seventh and eighth innings against reliever Justin Moore, but had a great rally going out of the gates against Keys closer Sean Gleason. Gleason walked Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood before Bloxom grounded into a fielder's choice that put runners at the corners with one out.
As Steven Souza swung at the third strike, Bloxom took a secondary lead from first. Ward gunned down to the bag and Bloxom was called out in a close play to end the game.
Potomac will look to spot starter Evan Bronson to avoid its third straight loss Wednesday night at 7:00 P.M.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.