06/07/08 12:36 AM ET
Bergmann off game in loss to Giants
Starter allows eight runs, five earned, in three-inning stint
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
The 25,987 in attendance were left disappointed. The Nationals were lethargic as they were pounded by the Giants, 10-1. It was a game that saw Acta, who is known as a patient man, show his emotions on the field and in the dugout.
The game was over by the third inning, when the Giants scored seven runs. It got so bad for starter Jason Bergmann that Acta came out of the dugout and spoke heatedly with Bergmann after the latter had walked opposing pitcher Tim Lincecum with the bases loaded. Acta told Bergmann to forget about what just happened and start throwing strikes.
"I just went out there to say, 'Hey, forget about how many hits you're giving up, you've only given up two runs. Three now, because you just walked the pitcher with the bases loaded.'" Acta said. "Despite all the hits he gave up, he could have come out of there, 2-0. He had the pitcher up with the bases loaded, and I just went up there to let him know that, and that he had the choice to fight, keep us in the ballgame, or sit down. But he just didn't have it. That was basically it."
Bergmann's arm didn't respond to Acta's message very well. After Fred Lewis singled to score Ray Durham, Jose Castillo hit a popup in foul territory. First baseman Aaron Boone ran to get it, but he dropped it as he was nearing the stands. It would have been the third out of the inning had Boone caught the ball, but it prolonged the inning and Bergmann couldn't get Castillo out.
On the next pitch, Bergmann threw a slider up in the zone and Castillo crushed it over the right-center-field wall for a three-run homer. After the inning ended, Acta showed his emotions again. He was upset that catcher Jesus Flores called that particular pitch for Castillo and told him so in the dugout. Bergmann should have used his curveball, which is his best pitch.
"We don't call pitches from the dugout, and we called for a curveball, and they decided to go to the slider and he hit a three-run homer," Acta said. "I wasn't completely upset, I was just making the point that we thought that was his best pitch tonight, and if we called it, it should be thrown, and the proof was there, a three-run homer. But, nothing big."
It was Bergmann's worst outing since being recalled from the Minor Leagues on May 15th. Bergmann was out of the game after three innings. He allowed eight runs -- five earned -- on 10 hits.
"I didn't pick up the team. I let the bullpen down really, because they fought their tails off yesterday in a doubleheader," Bergmann said. "I had to come out and give a good effort. I didn't have it.
"It seemed the game plan we came up with before the game was their hitting plan against me. Whether I missed pitches or I made the pitches or kept it off the plate, it just seemed they were right on it."
The Nationals' offense went to sleep a day after scoring 10 runs in the second game of a day/night doubleheader against the Cardinals. Washington scored one run on five hits against Lincecum, who lasted eight innings. The run was scored in the sixth inning, when Elijah Dukes doubled down the third-base line to drive in Ryan Langerhans.
"He is good. He has good stuff. When he is throwing strikes, it's tough to lay off the elevated fastball," said Kory Casto, who had one of the five hits. "The fastball is tough to pick up, but, more than anything, he throwing 94-97 [mph] consistently. The curveball comes out the same slot as his fastball. It's hard to pick up."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.