After the Nationals won 27 of their previous 37 games, losing a game became pretty rare. But losing a game to first-place Atlanta late in September with the NL wild card still not within their grasp hurts even more.
Starter Ross Ohlendorf cruised through five innings before allowing two home runs and three runs in the sixth. The Braves eventually won 5-2.
Ohlendorf said losing this time of year - with the a postseason berth in the balance - stings even more.
"All the losses are disappointing, but especially right now," Ohlendorf said. "I feel like even with losing tonight, I feel like we still have a good chance if we are still in the race for sure. With the way we have been playing, I feel like we have a chance. We have a big series coming up next.
"We certainly can win the rest. Any loss is going to be disappointing at this point. It always is, but especially now."
Shortstop Ian Desmond, who went 0-for-4, said the loss doesn't change how they approach each game.
"We are doing the same we have been doing all year," Desmond said. "Just going out and trying to be professionals and play the game the right way, putting our best foot forward. We did that tonight and we lost.
"It would be nice to win every game, but you don't. That is a good ballclub over there. We played well, but just not good enough. On to the next one."
First baseman Adam LaRoche went 1-for-4. He said winning a series against the Braves is always a good thing, but they really need to sweep series while in a desperate situation.
"Any other time of the year, that is a pretty good series, especially against these guys," LaRoche said. "But right now, we can't afford to lose any. So, going into the series thinking two of three is pretty good, you win the first two, you want that third one."
The clubhouse was showing the Reds and the Astros on almost every television. LaRoche said that with 10 games left, the chips are stacked on the Reds' or Pirates' side of the table. Cincinnati led by 4 1/2 games at the start of play Wednesday.
"It gets harder," LaRoche said. "That is why we have the Reds game on now. Again, I have said this for a week or two, it is tough counting on another team to melt down for you. But that is the position we are in."
Is sweeping the Marlins the next four games a must?
"I would think so," LaRoche agreed. "But again, you go into that series thinking about taking four and not the first one, you get yourself in a bad spot, too, so focus on tomorrow, try to get that one and go from there."