WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals are getting plenty of hits, they’re just having trouble scoring runs.
The Nationals have scored only three runs while knocking out 19 hits in their two games since the All-Star break, the most recent a 3-1 10-inning loss to the Dodgers on Saturday night.
“They should be scoring more than they have,” said Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, who gave up seven of Washington’s 10 hits, but allowed only one run in six innings.
Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez to hit back-to-back doubles off Nationals reliever Craig Stammen (5-5) to open the 10th inning and Ramirez scored two batters later on Andre Ethier’s sacrifice fly.
Washington went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and is 2 for 21 with RISP in the series, falling to 48-49 and below .500 for the first time in nearly a month.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re playing as good as we should be,” Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said. “I’m also not going to say that this is the end of the road. I don’t know what else to say besides, ‘It’s going to be fine.’ We’re going to get better, and we’re going to be the players we know we are. I think sometimes you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?'”
While losing 7 of 9, the Nationals have averaged just 2.7 runs per game and scored no more five runs, the total they posted in each of their wins.
“I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing it, but it’s got to turn around at some point,” Desmond said. “And if it doesn’t, then we’re going to keep on trying until we run out of time.”
Washington’s offense spent much of Saturday’s game looking like a rock band that decided to play all of its worst hits on the same night. First inning: bases loaded, none out. Second inning: leadoff double. Third inning: pair of one-out singles. Fourth inning: leadoff single. Seventh inning: first and second, one out. Eighth inning: first and third, one out.
They failed to score each time.
Greinke and Gio Gonzalez, two pitchers on winning streaks, fought to a near draw through six innings. The only run allowed by either came on Greinke’s final pitch, when pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina hit an RBI single and was thrown out trying to advance to second, ending the inning.
The Dodgers tied it on the seventh on Mark Ellis’ RBI single. Chris Withrow (1-0) pitched the ninth for his first career win, and Kenley Jansen handled the 10th for his 11th save
Gonzalez, who had won four straight starts, matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts and allowed four hits, but he didn’t receive the run support he needed to extend his winning streak.
While discussing his team’s offense, Nationals manager Davey Johnson paused for several seconds, apparently at a loss for words.
“That was a tough one,” Johnson said. “We had several opportunities.”
NOTES: Johnson was asked after the game whether hitting coach Rick Eckstein is in trouble. “Not in trouble to me,” Johnson said. “I think he’s a great hitting coach.” . Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler didn’t complete a full bullpen session Saturday and will miss at least two more starts while dealing with a lower back strain. … Washington 1B Adam LaRoche missed his second consecutive game with the flu.
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