WP: Jeff Weaver (9-8)
LP: Esteban Loaiza (6-7)
S: Yhency Brazoban (21)
WAS: 56-50 (2nd in NL East, 5.5 behind Atlanta, 1 ahead of Florida)
The Nationals struggles continued on Tuesday, thanks to four homers by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jeff Kent got the offense started in the second inning with a solo shot, but the Nationals answered in the third when Brad Wilkerson hit a triple that scored a pair.
The Dodgers then got a solo homer in the fifth, a two-run homer in the seventh, and another solo homer in the eighth to go up 5-2. Jason Repko, Jason Phillips and Hee-Seop Choi hit the homers (Phillips hit the two-run shot).
The Nationals attempted to come back in the bottom of the eighth, getting runs from a Vinny Castilla sac fly that scored Jose Vidro and a throwing error that scored Jose Guillen to cut the lead to 5-4, but the rally would fall short as Yehncy Brazoban shut the door in the ninth inning.
For the Nats, Christian Guzman went 1-for-2 and scored a run to raise his average to .188.
The middle game of this three game set comes tonight at 7:05 at RFK, with Tony Armas Jr. (5-5, 4.83 ERA, throws right) pitching against D.J. Houlton (4-4, 5.70 ERA, throws right).
The Nationals struggles have reached Expos-like proportions, as they haven't strung together consecutive wins since July 2 and 3, a span of 25 games. In that time, they have gone 6-19. (The Orioles, who have received more media attention for their struggles coupled with the Palmeiro fiasco, have gone 7-18).
However, the Nationals remain just 5.5 games out of first place in the NL East and two behind Houston for the Wild Card. It's bad, but it's not so bad that it's over. You just have to hope that a team that played so well for so much of the season has one more big run in it to push toward the playoffs. The problem is, they can't afford to drop many more games before starting that run.