Here’s the scene: top of the ninth inning, two down, bases loaded, down 2-1. The batter is a rookie, and this is his first ever major league plate appearance. That was the situation Nats rookie Adrian Sanchez found himself in last night, stepping to the plate with a chance to bring home at least the tying run in the ninth inning of a major league game in his first plate appearance.

Sanchez quickly went down 0-2 to Cardinals closer Human Element. Sanchez choked up and fouled off the third pitch, then took three consecutive balls to load the count. Element dug in and threw one over the plate, and Sanchez battled it off for another foul. Then another. Big spot! Big, strong, gutsy at-bat for a goddamn rookie in a big spot! Then this happened:

Hmm. What comes next, there? Is it Sanchez walking to first and the tying run coming home? Or is it Sanchez marching back to the dugout dejectedly while the Cardinals celebrate on the infield?

Wait, before you answer, look at this:

Image: MLB.com

It’s Sanchez walking to first, right? Gotta be. Here, look at this:

Human Element’s devastating out-pitch, circled.

Strike three! Game over, Cardinals win. Huge, huge strikeout by Human Element. That’s why you have that guy out there in that spot, frankly.