Perhaps the tougher part to stomach was more of what has plagued the Nationals throughout this mystifying season.
The Nationals took a 3-0 lead in the second inning doing what they’ve often failed to: capitalizing. Kyle Lohse hit Werth and Desmond with pitches in the second inning, and they both came around to score. They got back-to-back hits with runners in scoring position. The Brewers made an error, and the Nationals made them pay. The Brewers gave them an opening, and the Nationals took it.
Then suddenly, they stopped. They left five runners on base. They went 0 for 9 in their remaining chances with runners in scoring position. They could have padded their lead to ensure an inning like the sixth didn’t haunt them, but they failed to.
“Hindsight, after we lose a game like that, you definitely look back and see that we had Kyle Lohse on the ropes a couple innings and we didn’t capitalize,” said center fielder Denard Span, who went 0 for 5. “He was hanging on. He was battling his butt off. We were one or two hits away from definitely, I think, putting him away.”
“We had plenty of opportunities to add on, we just didn’t do it,” Johnson said. “That’s been kind of the scenario all year. Get runners in scoring position, don’t swing the bat. Don’t get the big hit. That was particularly tough. We’ve got a three-run lead, late in the ballgame. We should be able to hold it.”
They packed quietly. Another day on the calendar gone, the task ahead of them in trying to reach the playoffs made no easier. The Atlanta Braves awaited them at home.
“Anytime you play the team in front of you, especially when you’re behind, they’re games we need to win,” Werth said. “We’re playing them quite a bit. Nine more times. We need to win.”