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Two pitches after his foul popup fell between Nick Swisher and second baseman Jason Kipnis, Rendon homered into the Nationals' bullpen off Vinnie Pestano (1-2) to stun the Indians and the crowd of 33,307.
With runners on second and third and one out, Jason Kipnis hit a hard ground ball to the right side. First baseman Adam LaRoche made a diving backhanded stop and fired a throw to catcher Kurt Suzuki, but Drew Stubbs slid in with the winning run.
The best time to ask a clubhouse attendant to grab a couple of Big Macs from the McDonald's up South Capitol Street from Nationals Park is not when the clubhouse chef is within earshot. "Are you crazy?" Sultani remembered telling the attendant. "Do not go get him that burger."
Nats' 3-4-5 hitters combined to go 2 for 15, as Washington failed to score in the final six innings.
More than two months into the season, the Nationals finally placed Danny Espinosa on the disabled list Tuesday. It was one of a flurry of moves the team needed to make, mostly with its pitching staff, as it attempts to regain some of its luster that's been lost in a 28-29 start.
This time last year, the Nationals were 34-23, hardly having looked back after a 14-4 start to the season and on their way to a major league-best 98 wins. This year, despite the predictions and the expectations, the Nationals have not performed up to the standard they set in 2012.
An approaching storm was a fitting scene for the Nationals, who fell 6-3 in the finale of this three-game series, as they dropped below .500 for the first time since April. The Braves, who've now beaten the Nationals in seven of the teams' 10 meetings, are 6 ½ games ahead of them in the National League East standings.
Forty-four games into the 2013 campaign, the Nationals have never overcome more than a two-run deficit. As the Padres' assault continued to mount on Sunday, the Nationals needed plenty more than two.
The Nationals' victory over the Tigers on Thursday was their sixth in the past seven games as they improved to 19-15.