THE RESULTS: The Washington Nationals were shut out—two hit, in fact—by a pitcher that started the game with a 5.04 ERA. The Nats starter, who has a 6.00 ERA of his own, gave up three home runs in five innings pitched. And that's how the Nats lost their third game in a row, 7-0, to the Cincinnati Reds before 16,889 at Great American Ballpark.
Part-time player Jonny Gomes hit home runs in each of his first three trips to the plate. He finished 3-for-5 with three runs and five RBIs.
Catcher Ryan Hanigan also hit a solo shot.
Bronson Arroyo (W, 11-11, 4.74) was not dominant against the Nats, as he struck out just three, but everything the Nats hit was gobbled up by fielders. He went the entire way, giving up singles to just Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. Dunn also drew a walk.
Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Cristian Guzman went 0-for-4, ending his 17-game streak.
Arroyo has been incredibly hittable this season, with a WHIP of 1.46 entering the game. He's allowed 159 hits in 144 2/3 innings. If you play fantasy baseball, he's probably out on your waiver wire right now.
The veteran right-hander had been 0-3 in his previous four starts and had not won since beating Milwaukee on July 17.
Yet, this very same player completely shut down what last week was the hottest offense in baseball.
Collin Balester (L, 1-2, 6.00) gave up three runs in the second inning on Gomes' two-run shot and Haningan's solo. In the fourth, he allowed another two-run home run to Gomes. The grand total was five runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out just three.
It was the first time since Balester's recall he had allowed more than two earned runs in a start.
THE TAKEAWAY: Hard to take anything away from this game. When you get completely shut down by a pitcher that has been imminently hittable this season, there's not much to say.
Since hitting the road after the eight-game winning streak, this team has picked right back up with the lackadaisical and listless play. It's crazy how they can mash the ball for eight days, averaging six and a half runs a game, then go out on the road and score three runs in three games.
THE GOOD: Mike MacDougal. He pitched a scoreless ninth, and struck out Gomes to keep him from hitting his fourth home run of the game, saving the Nats from more national ridicule.
THE BAD: Balester. He's been OK since his recall, but tonight had nothing on his fastball.
THE UGLY: Uglier than getting shut down by a mediocre pitcher or three home runs hit by a part-time player? How about Nyjer Morgan getting hit on the knee by a pitch and sitting the rest of the game out?
He was taken out as a precaution, but when your speed guy gets hit on the knee, that's not a good sign.
NEXT GAME: Friday night at 7:10 pm. Garrett Mock (1-4, 6.14) gets a shot to follow up his fine outing last time out against Reds staff ace Aaron Harang (6-13, 4.43), who is quietly going through his worst season.