Good, Bad & Ugly: Streak Over; Nationals Fall to Brewers 7-5

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Good, Bad & Ugly: Streak Over; Nationals Fall to Brewers 7-5
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
"I think everybody that had a Nationals jersey on felt like we were in a good spot right there, but I didn't do my job."—Tyler Clippard, on allowing Casey McGehee's two-run home run in the sixth inning, July 29, 2009.

THE RESULT: Casey McGehee, a utility infielder, hit a pinch-hit two run home run off reliever Tyler Clippard, and the Milwaukee Brewers snapped the Washington Nationals four-game winning streak, dropping the Nats 7-5, before 32,992 at Miller Park.

The Nats are now 32-69 on the season, 27 games behind in the division and seven and one-half games behind San Diego for the worst record in the N.L.

Washington got out early in this one, scoring four times in the first two innings against Brewers starter Manny Parra. Parra (W, 5-8, 6.50) really struggled with his command, walking five batters in the first two innings alone.

But the big lefty settled down, and pitched long enough for his offense to bail him out and earn him the victory. He finished six innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and five walks, striking out seven.

His opponent, Garrett Mock, was successful in holding the lead staked to him by his offense—but just barely. Given a 4-0 lead to work with, Mock gave up two in the third and one in the fourth, and left two batters into the sixth inning.

Mock allowed four earned runs on eight hits, one walk and a wild pitch which scored a run, and struck out four.

Clippard entered in the sixth after Mock allowed the first two hitters to reach. He induced a double-play grounder on his first batter, but a run scored regardless. After the DP, Clippard walked the number eight hitter, backup catcher Mike Rivera, ahead of McGehee's blast.

The Nats offense was really cooking most of the game, but followed a familiar script, leaving more men on base than pushing across home plate. They finished with 11 hits and five walks, scored five and left 11 men on base.

Washington was undone by its six and seven hitters. Ronnie Belliard and Austin Kearns combined to go 0-for-8 and leave six runners stranded.

Nyjer Morgan, Cristian Guzman, Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson all had two hits apiece.

THE TAKEAWAY: The Nats let the Brewers off the hook last night. A 4-0 lead after two innings with a pitcher that couldn't find home plate with a map should have made for an easy night. But nothing is easy with team, regardless of the four-game win streak that will probably keep the team from making any trades here at the deadline.

Case in point: After Parra walked Zimmerman and Johnson with two outs in the second inning, Belliard popped out on the second pitch of the next at bat.

THE GOOD: Ryan Zimmerman. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

THE BAD: Austin Kearns. 0-for-3. I've run out of words.

THE UGLY: Ronnie Belliard. 0-for-5 with five pop-ups, six runners left stranded. You want to know the reason the Nats lost last night? Look no further. Sure, the pitching wasn't really sharp, but Belliard was a one-man rally killer last night.

He saw 17 pitches in five at bats. Nick Johnson saw 28.

NEXT GAME: 2:05 pm Matinee today to wrap up the four-game set. J.D. Martin (0-1, 7.50) tries for his first big league win against Milwaukee's best pitcher, Yovanni Gallardo (9-7, 3.09).
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