Johnson frustrated following extra-inning defeat

Johnson frustrated following extra-inning defeat

Johnson frustrated following extra-inning defeat

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Doumit's RBI single in the 11th inning helped the Twins defeat the Nationals, 4-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 41,587 at Nationals Park on Saturday evening. Washington is two games under .500 at 29-31 and is in third place in the National League East.

With the game tied at 3 and one out, Doumit swung at a 0-1 pitch from right-hander Craig Stammen and singled to center field, scoring Chris Herrmann.

"Today was a big win with a split doubleheader tomorrow," Doumit said. "That's a lot of baseball. The last thing we needed on both sides was to go deep into extra innings. So I was fortunate that I got a pitch to hit there in the 11th and put a good swing on it."

After the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson was clearly frustrated and is still trying to figure out how to fix the club's problems. Entering Sunday's doubleheader, the Nationals are near the bottom of almost every major offensive category and the pitching has been up and down. It also doesn't help that the team has been hit by injuries. Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwiler are among the players on the disabled list.

"It's very frustrating," Johnson said. "It's getting my dander up. We are better than this. We just haven't done the things. … It seems like when we play like this , we look like we are lackadaisical. … This is tough."

Throughout Saturday's game, the Nationals had problems scoring. In the fifth, for example, Roger Bernadina led off with a double, but he only made it as far as third base as Kurt Suzuki grounded out, Gio Gonzalez flied out to right and Denard Span struck out to end the threat. The Nationals went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"That's very frustrating. We are better than what we are showing," Johnson said. "It's frustrating to me and it's frustrating [to the guys] in the other room. We have to pick it up. It's getting late."

What makes it worse is that the Nationals are losing to back-of-the-rotation starters. On Thursday, Washington lost to Mets right-hander Dillon Gee, and on Saturday, had a tough time hitting Twins starter Kevin Correia, who's not known as a strikeout pitcher but managed to record seven in his 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits.

The first time Washington scored against Correia was in the third, when Jayson Werth hit a two-run home run to give his club a 2-0 lead.

"I threw the ball well enough," Correia said. "As long as we get a win out of the game, that's good. That was about the most runs I could have given up. I made one bad pitch to Werth on a ball I shouldn't have thrown."

Gonzalez threw 114 pitches, but he pitched six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. The Twins tied it in the fourth because of shoddy defense by the Nationals.

Justin Morneau hit a sharp ground ball that went under the glove of first baseman Adam LaRoche. Josh Willingham scored all the way from first, while Morneau went to second on the two-base error.

"I gave them that one that cost us the game. That one is on me. That's terrible," LaRoche said.

Morneau later scored on a single by Brian Dozier to tie the game at 2. An inning later, Minnesota took a 3-2 lead on a home run by Joe Mauer.

The Nationals tied it at 3 in the seventh, when Suzuki hit a ball that went under the glove of shortstop Pedro Florimon, allowing Anthony Rendon to score. Suzuki was credited with a double.

Washington plays a day-night doubleheader against Minnesota on Sunday. Reliever Tyler Clippard is confident that the Nationals can recover from their latest slide.

"We have to keep our nose down, keep grinding, the wins will come. We can't get too low, too high. We have to keep going," Clippard said.

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