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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Round-Up: Nats Losing Streak at 10

Washington -- The Washington Nationals lost a pair of games over the weekend to the Colorado Rockies, extending their season-high losing streak to ten games, and traded Luis Ayala, one of their long-time bullpen pitchers, to a division rival.

Saturday: Starter John Lannan was not as sharp as normal, and the Rockies rode the arm of recently acquired starter Livan Hernandez (11-9) to beat the Nationals 13-6. The Rockies got a terrific performance from SS Troy Tulowitzki (three hits, three RBIs) and two hits apiece from 1B Garrett Atkins, RF Brad Hawpe and 3B Ian Stewart.

Lannan was rough from the start Saturday night. He gave up eight earned runs on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in four innings to take the loss. His record for the season is 6-12 with a3.81 ERA. Reliever Garrett Mock fared no better, allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks in just two innings. The Nats got a good effort from Ronnie Belliard, who had three hit sand three RBIs. Lastings Milledge added three hits and scored twice.

Washington committed three errors, one each from Emilio Bonifacio,Ryan Zimmerman and Milledge. They also allowed four stolen bases, two each form Willie Tavares and Matt Holliday.

Sunday: Washington's losing streak reached ten games, as the Rockies had two big innings and the Nats offense was a no-show once again in the sunshine, with the final score 7-2. The Nats actually out-hit the Rockies on Sunday, but once again made bad outs on the bases and were otherwise unable to take advantage of having runners on base. Willie Harris, Pete Orr and Milledge all had two hits apiece as part of the ten-hit effort, but Ryan Langerhans was thrown out at home on a "contact" play in the second inning, and Emilio Bonifacio was thrown out trying to steal second base in the third.

Starter Odalis Perez (L, 5-0, 4.06) turned in a quality start,allowing three earned runs on four hits and four walks over six innings. The three runs came following an error by SS Pete Orr, a walk by Perez and three-run home run by 3B Ian Stewart. Colorado got four more runs in the eight inning off of Charlie Manning and Jesus Colome. OFs Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith both homered as well for the Rocks. All-star Aaron Cook (15-8) got the win, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits over five innings.

NATS NOTES: With the losses, the Nationals record stands at 44-81,24.5 games behind division-leading New York.

On Sunday, Washington announced a trade, sending RHP Luis Ayala to the Mets in exchange for a player to be named later, expected to be minor league SS Anderson Hernandez. Ayala was once the Nats most dependable reliever, but he has not been the same since surgery after an injury following the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Hernandez hit .301 for Triple-A New Orleans in 2007, but this season is hitting only .201 in441 bats for the Zephyrs.

Photo of Lannan (c) C. Nichols 2008.
Photo of Langerhans courtesy of Anthony Amobi, DC Sports Box.

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