WASHINGTON (AP) - Kirk Gibson sat behind his desk in the manager's office and spoke softly about the Arizona Diamondbacks' sudden inability to hit, a shortcoming that has resulted in an untimely six-game losing streak.
``It's more of the same offensively. We just really struggled,' Gibson said after Arizona fell to the Washington Nationals 4-1 Monday night.
The Diamondbacks managed only six hits, just one for extra bases - a solo home run by Henry Blanco in the seventh inning. The drive enabled Arizona to avoid a second straight shutout loss, but it wasn't enough to knock the Diamondbacks out of a tailspin that has shaved their lead in the NL West over San Francisco to one game.
Arizona has scored only seven runs in its last six games, and Gibson is getting desperate to turn things around.
``We're not going to take BP tomorrow. Get here later. Try that,' he said, an instant before ending his postgame news conference at a brisk 1 minute, 20 seconds.
Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer and Ross Detwiler (2-3) gave up one run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings for Washington. Detwiler came in with a 3-12 lifetime record and was winless since July 5, but the left-hander was dominant against an Arizona team that hasn't scored more than two runs during its longest skid since a seven-game run in July 2010.
``We hit a lot of balls hard tonight. I think we're all right,' leadoff hitter Ryan Roberts said. ``I'm not thinking that we're in a drought. It's just not falling in right now. It will turn back around.'
Werth has had few shining moments this season after signing a $126 million, seven-year deal in December. But he carried the Nationals in this one, scoring a second-inning run before delivering the decisive blow in the fourth against Joe Saunders (8-11).
Detwiler, meanwhile, allowed only one runner past second base until Blanco hit a drive into the left-field seats with two outs in the seventh. The homer, on a 3-2 pitch, gave Blanco has six homers and nine RBIs this year.
Drew Storen, the third Washington reliever, worked the ninth to secure his 34th save and seal the Nationals' fifth win in seven games.
Washington went up 1-0 in the second inning when Werth doubled and scored on a single by Jonny Gomes.
In the fourth, Ryan Zimmerman led off with an infield hit and Michael Morse walked before Werth hit an opposite-field liner into the right-field seats. It was his 15th home run - the first since Aug. 10 - and it gave him 48 RBIs in 121 games.
``Being here long enough, I've settled in and I'm getting comfortable and finding my zone,' said Werth, whose 2-for-4 performance upped his batting average to .229. ``Unfortunately, it's taken this long.'
Washington manager Davey Johnson suspected earlier this month that Werth would soon begin showing the power and consistency that he displayed as a star with the Philadelphia Phillies.
``I said maybe three weeks ago that he was coming along. Every day, I see more of Jayson Werth,' Johnson said. ``It's about time to come out.'
Saunders allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. He's 0-3 in four starts in August.
``He made a couple mistakes,' Gibson said of Saunders. ``That pitch to Werth, he didn't get it where he wanted it and he pounded it. That was obviously a big pitch in the game.'
NOTES: Zimmerman has reached base safely in 28 straight games, batting .407 during that span. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-10) will pitch for Washington on Tuesday night. Arizona has scheduled RHP Ian Kennedy (15-4), who had a seven-game winning streak snapped in his last start - a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia on Aug. 18. Zimmermann, two years removed from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled for one more start after this one before being shut down. ... Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg allowed one earned run and two hits in three innings, striking out six, in a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Hagerstown against Hickory. ... Arizona cleanup hitter Chris Young went 0 for 3 and is 1 for 30 in his last nine games.
The Associated Press News Service
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