"I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit. I should have stepped back and recouped, but by that point I was out of the game." —Collin Balester, August 24, 2009
THE RESULT: Eight straight Milwaukee Brewers reached base against three Washington Nationals pitchers in the sixth inning, scoring six runs, and the Brewers cruised to a 7-1 win over the Nats before 17,805 in the series finale Monday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Washington left 11 men on base, a day after pounding Milwaukee pitching for three home runs and eight total runs.
The Nats fell to 44-81 on the season.
Collin Balester pitched extremely well through five innings. The right-hander, who lasted just an inning and a third last time out, did not give up a hit until the fourth inning, and entered the sixth having allowed just two hits.
But Frank Catalanotto lead off with a double, and Ryan Braun mashed a two-run home run, his 27th of the season. Another single and a walk later, and Balester (L, 1-4, 6.82) was out of the game.
Jason Bergmann entered, and for the third straight appearance was ineffective. He walked Mike Cameron and gave up an RBI single to Jason Kendall before being pulled for Ron Villone. Jody Gerut greeted Villone with a two-run single.
Former Nat Felipe Lopez closed the scoring with a run-scoring fielder's choice.
The Nats got their run when Willie Harris scored on a Wil Nieves fielder's choice in the second inning.
THE TAKEAWAY: September 1 roster expansions can't come soon enough. It becoming quite apparent that the Nats are in need of a few more arms. A couple of guys are really getting worn down in the pen and it shows.
Not only is the bullpen being asked to throw at least four innings a game, but recently, with Balester and John Lannan's short appearances, they've had a few seven inning games as well.
THE GOOD: Willie Harris. He went 2-for-3 with the lone run and made a nice catch in left field.
THE BAD: Jason Bergmann. Called on to hold the Brewers to just two runs in the inning, he instead put gas on the fire.
THE UGLY: The top five batters in the order were a combined 1-for-19 against four different Brewers pitchers.
NEXT GAME: Washington travels to Chicago and storied Wrigley Field to face the Cubbies. Garrett Mock (2-5, 5.10) looks to continue his quality performances against Carlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.35) returning from the disabled list.