- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Michael Taylor was still wearing his Washington Nationals uniform when he met with reporters after a disastrous night Wednesday.

Taylor let Yasiel Puig’s rolling single slide under his glove for a game-ending three-base error, capping a forgettable game for the young center fielder in the Nationals‘ 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Taylor was also 0 for 5 with five strikeouts while Washington lost its fifth straight game.

Taylor sat at his locker, trying to make sense of everything that went wrong.

“It’s just a tough day; 0 for 5, I can handle,” Taylor said. “When I do something like that (error) to cost the team the game, it’s pretty tough.”

Wilson Ramos homered in the eighth inning to put the Nationals ahead 3-2. With Shawn Kelley (1-1) on the mound, pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick singled, and then Puig singled as well. The ball went under Taylor’s glove in center field, and Puig kept running. He rounded third base and flew through a stop sign before diving home even though there was no throw to beat.

“You have to catch it first,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “He came in aggressively. That’s not the issue. You have to come in aggressively if you’re going to try to cut that run off … from going to third. That was the tying run. That’s what Michael was trying to do. It was a tough day for Michael, period. It was one of the toughest days that he’ll remember, probably the rest of his career.”

Taylor said he was trying to catch the ball and throw it, but that didn’t happen. He was left in a quiet clubhouse to relive a play he’d much rather forget.

“Very shocking,” he said. “It’s a groundball. I’ve got to make that play.”

Instead, Puig was mobbed at home plate.

It was a long walk back to the dugout for Taylor. Asked if he had talked to him after the game, Baker said: “No. You leave him alone for a while. You don’t want to hear any words of encouragement. You don’t want to hear anything from anybody. No, you don’t do that. We’re going to leave him alone, and then you talk to him on the plane.

“There’s always a period where everyone is going to be the hero and everyone is going to be the goat sometimes. This was tough day for Michael, but you have to learn from it.”

Puig’s dash capped a game that began with a fantastic pitching duel between youngsters Joe Ross and Julio Urias. The Nationals‘ Ross allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Corey Seager had three of the seven hits off Ross, including a solo homer in the third.

The 19-year-old Urias continued to impress for the Dodgers. The Mexican left-hander struck out six in five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He left with the game tied at 2 and didn’t get a decision. He has yet to get his first major league win.

Chris Hatcher (5-3) got one out in the ninth inning and the victory.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, who was scratched from his scheduled start Monday because of an upper back strain, threw on flat ground. The Nationals hope he makes his next scheduled start on Sunday.

Dodgers: Puig (strained left hamstring) was in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game after coming off the disabled list.

UP NEXT:

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (8-4, 3.29 ERA) will pitch Friday in Milwaukee and is unbeaten in June. He struck out 10 in his last start against the Padres.


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