WASHINGTON (AP) - Nationals starter John Lannan made one mistake when he had no room for error.
Lannan was Washington's latest hard-luck loser as the Nationals' offense continued to struggle. He gave up two runs in six innings, and once he gave way to the bullpen the similarly moribund Arizona Diamondbacks got an overdue burst of offense in an 8-1 win Thursday night.
It was the third straight loss for Washington. In the three games they have gone 1 for 29 with runners in scoring position and scored a total of three runs.
``You throw a little bit more pressure on you individually, which also gets contagious,' Nationals outfielder Johnny Gomes said. ``You find yourself wanting to hit a three-run homer with one guy on.'
Washington's lone tally in the finale of the four-game series came on Michael Morse's RBI single off Bryan Shaw in the seventh.
``We just seem like we're really flat,' manager Davey Johnson said. ``We didn't look like we wanted it the last two or three days.'
The miscue from Lannan (8-10) was a fastball that Chris Young deposited about a half-dozen rows into the left field bleachers with one out in the sixth to break a scoreless tie. Lannan allowed seven hits in dropping his third straight decision.
``You can only control what you can control, and that's throwing strikes,' Lannan said. ``Right now I'm not thinking too much about what's going on offensively, I know these guys are going to come through.'
Wade Miley (1-1) threw six scoreless innings to get his first major league victory. Miley allowed five hits, struck out four and walked four in his second game in the majors. The 24-year-old left-hander repeatedly worked out of trouble - allowing two men to reach base in four of the first five innings - but he mixed his low 90s fastball with a generous dose of offspeed pitches to keep the Nationals in check.
``We got some runners on, and he beared down and started pitching different with runners in scoring position,' Gomes said.
Brad Ziegler relived Shaw in the seventh and worked out of a first-and-second, one-out jam, getting Jayson Werth on a popout to third and Danny Espinosa on a long foul out to left. David Hernandez pitched the eighth, and Micah Owings the ninth.
The Diamondbacks scored three runs in the eighth off Tyler Clippard, the most the Nationals' only All-Star has allowed in an outing this year. The first came when Justin Upton made a perfect, wide, hand-first slide to avoid the tag on Miguel Montero's double to right. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a two-run homer to left.
``Tonight it was a combination of bad pitch selection and bad execution on my part,' Clippard said. ``You're not going to succeed when that happens.'
Arizona added three more in the ninth, all of them unearned after an error by second baseman Espinosa. The paltry crowd gave the Nationals a mock cheer when Henry Rodriguez struck out Lyle Overbay to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks relied heavily on their pitching to win the last three of the four-game series, salvaging a stretch in which their offense was mostly traveling elsewhere. Their eight-spot Thursday - with all the runs coming in the final four innings - was exactly half of the 16 they had scored combined in the previous nine games of their 4-6 road trip.
The Nationals were perfect fodder - because they haven't scored much, either.
``When the bats are silent, the pitchers think they've got to be finer than normal, and that's not good,' Johnson said.
Notes: Nationals RHP Ryan Mattheus was removed from the game after pitching to two batters in the eighth. He said it was a precautionary move because he didn't have his usual velocity. ... As a longtime member of the Baltimore Orioles family, Johnson was stunned by the news that former Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan had committed suicide. ``I was pretty shaken. ... I wished I had a chance to talk to him, and cheer him up like he's done me in the past,' Johnson said. A moment of silence was held in memory of Flanagan before the game. ... Nationals C Ivan Rodriguez (right oblique strain) will catch five innings for Single A Potomac at Frederick on Saturday, his first rehab game since going on the DL on July 7. ... Johnson dropped a very old-school movie reference after the game. ``I thought if we could stay close we could pull it out. It was a 'Bad Day at Black Rock,'' he said, referencing the 1955 thriller starring Spencer Tracy.
The Associated Press News Service
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