The Nationals, on offense and defense, did practically all of the same things they did in winning four straight; they scored runs, played error-free baseball and didn’t let the opposing starter go deep into the game.
But the difference between this game, a 7-5 loss to the Brewers, and the possibility of their fifth straight win was a few mistakes by Garrett Mock and Collin Balester.
Mock hung a slider in the third inning against Ryan Braun, and that turned into an RBI triple. He gave up a homer to Mike Cameron in the fifth, and allowed a double just inside the left-field line to Corey Hart in the sixth. Later in that inning, Clippard threw a 3-2 changeup — his best pitch — to Casey McGehee, but didn’t get it as low as he wanted, and McGehee hit it for a go-ahead two-run pinch homer.
Mock was a little defiant when talking about his outing after the game, saying he felt like he made good pitches and his outing turned on just a few mistakes.
“The hit that I gave up to Corey Hart, that was a seven-pitch at-bat, and he didn’t put a good swing on any of those,” Mock said. “Go watch the swing. He wasn’t even close to putting a good swing on that. It found a hole. Cameron hit it to a hole (on the single). … Just as every outing I’ve ever had, there’s always a couple pitches I want back.”
As for Clippard, he focused more on walking Mike Rivera than the homer he gave up to McGehee. Clippard had two outs at that point, and could’ve ended the inning by retiring Rivera. But he didn’t, and that hurt him when his changeup to McGehee wasn’t low enough.
“Walking Rivera’s what killed me,” Clippard said. “McGehee’s been hot for them; he did what he does. I think everybody who had the Nationals jersey on felt like we were in a good spot right there. But I didn’t do my job. I walked Rivera, and that’s what killed me.”
Nats still have a chance to win the series tomorrow at 2:05, when J.D. Martin opposes Yovani Gallardo. Talk to you then.