- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing a pitcher who admittedly did not have his best stuff, the Washington Nationals kept giving themselves chances to score - and then figuring out ways to avoid adding runs.

In the second and third innings alone against Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets, the Nationals accumulated three hits, four walks and a wild pitch.

In that span Tuesday night, the NL East leaders also managed to have one baserunner, Asdrubal Cabrera, get hit by a batted ball, which resulted in an automatic out, and a hitter, Jayson Werth, ground into a double play. Then, in the sixth, Werth got thrown out at the plate.

Add it all up, and the Nationals lost for the sixth time in nine games, beaten 6-1 by the Mets.

Asked if he could identify a theme to his team’s inability to push more runs across, Washington manager Matt Williams said: “There’s no common thread. There’s no way to say, ‘OK, this is because, this is why.’ No. I mean, I haven’t seen a guy get hit with a batted ball in a while.”

Added Williams: “It happens sometimes. It seems like it’s going the wrong way the last couple of days, but we can turn that around tomorrow.”

Wheeler (7-8) allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings to win his fourth consecutive decision.

Washington’s Nos. 5-6 hitters, Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper, were a combined 0 for 7 with four strikeouts and a walk.

Werth led off the sixth with a double. When Adam LaRoche followed with a single to left, third base coach Bob Henley sent Werth home. Left fielder Eric Campbell threw out Werth with a one-hop toss; the call stood after a replay review to check whether Travis d’Arnaud blocked the plate.

“It changed the whole game right there,” said Daniel Murphy, who pushed New York’s lead to 4-1 with a two-run single in the seventh off reliever Drew Storen.

Werth, whose recently sprained right ankle was bothering him, had no problem with Henley’s decision.

“It would’ve taken a perfect throw, and that’s what happened,” Werth said. “We’re going to stay aggressive on the bases. That’s part of our game. That’s who we are. Sometimes it works out for you, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez (6-8) was charged with four runs and six hits over six-plus innings. He put two runners on to begin the seventh, then shook his head as he walked off the mound when Williams yanked him with Wheeler coming to the plate.

Asked if he was upset that he was removed there, Gonzalez replied: “I wanted to face the pitcher, yes.”


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