Bill Ladson

Nats plagued by lack of hits in key situations

Nats plagued by lack of hits in key situations

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had plenty of scoring opportunities in their 6-4 loss to the Marlins on Thursday. In fact, after Daniel Murphy hit his three-run triple off left-hander Adam Conley to tie the score at 3 in the first inning, the Nationals went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and struck out nine times.

The fifth was their best chance to score at least one run against reliever David Phelps. The Nationals had runners on first and second with one out, but Ryan Zimmerman flied out to right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, then Jayson Werth grounded out to end the threat.

After the game, manager Dusty Baker declined to push the panic button. He reminded the local media it was only the third game. However, Baker noticed that the concentration level wasn't the same as it was in their two victories.

Baker is grateful his team will get the day off Friday. As he put it, the day off is coming right on time. Baker hopes his team comes back strong Saturday against Miami.

"What happened was, [the Marlins] got us out. It's easy to say what happened. We didn't get any two-out hits," Baker said. "The difference in the ballgame is they were able to get two-out hits. The two out hits they got weren't necessarily hit hard. We hit the ball harder than they did, but you can't guide the ball. … There is no explanation about what happened. …

"We did get nine walks. The Marlins were walking us, but we couldn't come with that big hit other than Murphy's."

Although Murphy had the big triple, he mentioned he didn't come through with runners in scoring position in the third off Phelps.

"I had a couple of chances myself out there with some traffic. I just didn't get that big base hit to bust it open early and late to get us back in the ballgame," Murphy said.

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.