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The continued lack of offense made life all the more difficult for starter Mike Bacsik, who again was done in by a few crucial mistakes and suffered his fifth consecutive loss.

Bacsik’s mistakes last night all resulted in home runs — two solo shots by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a three-run homer by Andruw Jones.

His costliest gaffe was a 3-1 change-up to Jones in the fifth. Atlanta’s perennial All-Star center fielder had been in perhaps the worst slump of his career, with a batting average that dipped below .200 and no extra-base hits in nearly three weeks.

Knowing Jones’ weakness for breaking balls, the Nationals have been trying to get him out on almost nothing but offspeed pitches. But that only works when those pitches are located well. Bacsik (1-5) couldn’t do that this time. His 80 mph offering sat right over the heart of the plate, and Jones tattooed it deep to left for a three-run homer that provoked the crowd of 22,508 into a loud and lengthy ovation.

“I’m going to have a sleepless night tonight,” Bacsik said. “I’m pretty frustrated with what happened. I was throwing the ball good, and in a five-minute span, 10 to 15 pitches, you lose the game. I lost the game for us tonight. I didn’t give us a chance to win.”