The inability to hit with runners in scoring position came back to haunt the Washington Nationals once again in their 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon. The Nationals were coming off an emotional 15 inning win the night before that exhausted the bullpen. They really needed a strong effort from starter Gio Gonzalez.
They got the type of start needed as Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings, allowed two runs on five hits and struck out nine batters. But the offense failed to give the lefty any run support and he ended up as a tough luck loser.
The Nats had runners on first and second with no outs in each of the first three innings, but found a way to come up empty each time. They went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position for the game. The only hit was a Jayson Werth single in the seventh inning.
Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran wasn’t very sharp early, but the Nats allowed him to wiggle his way to throwing six scoreless innings. In dropping two of three games this weekend the Nats went a combined 5-for-36 with runners in scoring position. It’s very tough to win ballgames when you can’t score runs. It was the 32nd time this season the Nats have failed to score more than one run in a game.
The loss drops the Nats record to 60-63 and 4-12 against the rival Braves this season. They will play another three game series in mid September at Nationals Park where the Braves are a perfect 6-0 this season.
The Nats will continue their 10 game road trip with a four game series against the Chicago Cubs starting Monday night. They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 9.5 games for the second NL Wildcard spot with 39 games remaining in the regular season. Time is running out.