WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span didn't make an error in 384 total chances during the 2013 season. So one can imagine how shocked he was that he didn't win the National League Gold Glove Award for center field on Tuesday night. The award went to the Brewers' Carlos Gomez, who made five errors in 391 total chances.
"I don't know what word to use. I definitely felt that I did enough to win," Span said via telephone. "I didn't have any errors on one of the toughest positions on the field. It's tough not to win a Gold Glove."
Span did praise Gomez for a great year at the plate and in the field.
"When I look at the award, it motivates me to work even harder and pick up my offense with my defense," Span said. "That's the only thing I can say. Defensively, I felt like I did what I needed to do to win the award."
Span's best defensive game came on Aug. 14, when he made a game-ending catch in a 6-5 victory against the Giants.
On an 0-1 pitch with two outs in the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence surprised the Nationals by pulling the ball to left-center field. Span, who was playing in right-center, had to go a long way and made a diving catch in left-center to end the game.
Span didn't know he had a shot to catch the ball until he was set to make the dive for it. Pence didn't know the catch was made by Span until he heard the crowd's thunderous applause. Span's grab was one of the best catches in Nationals history.
Asked if 2013 was his best season with the glove, Span said, "As far as taking care of the baseball, throwing the ball to the right base all the time, keeping the ball down -- all that plays into not having any errors. It's not just catching the ball. It's the throws as well. I felt like this is definitely my best year."
Span credits his success in center field to former Twins first-base coach Jerry White, who helped Span learn his craft for five years.
"He never cut me any slack," Span said of White. "Every day, we would practice our craft. I learned a lot from him."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. MLB.com reporter Steve Gilbert contributed to this report.