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But the how and the why became irrelevant to them as soon as Danny Espinosa swung through Jonathan Papelbon’s final pitch. Instead, they had to look forward. Had to figure out how not to let things slip away from them when they’re getting ever closer to their finish line.

After their five previous losing streaks of three games or more this season, the Nationals have responded by reeling off runs that include plenty more wins than losses. They saw no reason why this would be any different.

“Luckily, we haven’t had a lot of [losing streaks] this year,” LaRoche said. “We’ve been really good at fighting back after we lose a couple and haven’t had that huge skid where everything falls apart. I don’t see it happening here.”