Bill Ladson

Nats' defense isn't up to par behind Strasburg

Nats' defense isn't up to par behind Strasburg

WASHINGTON -- Shoddy defense is one reason Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg picked up his first loss of the season as the Mets posted a 6-3 win in the rubber game on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.

The contest was scoreless when the Mets put up four runs in the third inning. After Curtis Granderson singled with one out, David Wright hit what looked like a perfect double-play ball to shortstop Ian Desmond, who booted it for his third error of the season.

"The object is to field the ball. I wasn't able to convert," Desmond said. "I'm all for owning up when I make a mistake. I wish I put myself in a better position to get a different hop. I wasn't expecting the ball down -- stuff like that. The object is to convert the balls that are rolling into outs. I wasn't able to do that."

After that, Strasburg had a difficult time getting the hitters out. He then hit Lucas Duda before allowing an RBI single to Michael Cuddyer. Daniel Murphy next reached on an infield single that first baseman Ryan Zimmerman couldn't handle because he bumped into Strasburg. Two batters later, Travis d'Arnaud drove in a pair of runs with a single.

Strasburg's first 2015 strikeout

In all, three of the four runs were unearned because of the Desmond error.

Three innings later, Wright made it a 6-0 lead when he singled to right field, driving in two runs.

Because he had limited action during Spring Training because of injuries, Nationals manager Matt Williams thought Strasburg pitched well.

"I thought he pitched well enough to keep us in it. That's for sure." Williams said.

Strasburg said he wasn't frustrated about the sloppy defense behind him.

"You can't let those things affect you. Those guys are going to go out there and give you everything they have, every single day," Strasburg said. "That's all I'm expecting because I'm trying to go out there and do the same thing. I know when you face adversity, you want to go out there and pick each other up. I went out there and I tried to do that."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.