Johnson talks after Nats' 4-1 loss

PHILADELPHIA - After a bit of a shaky start, Edwin Jackson settled down and ended up allowing just three runs over seven innings in tonight's loss to the Phillies.

Jackson just got out-pitched by Cole Hamels, who held Nationals hitters in check for a second straight start.

"I thought Edwin pitched a damn good ballgame, we just couldn't get nothing going against Hamels," manager Davey Johnson said. "You've got to give him credit. Pitched a good ballgame, and by the time we got something going, they made a great play, threw us out at home. Tip your hat to Hamels. Pitched a hell of a ballgame."

Hamels improves to a ridiculous 7-1 already this season, and his ERA drops to 2.17 after today's game. He had a no-hitter through five innings before Danny Espinosa ended that with a double to left with one out in the sixth.

"He started the game throwing mostly fastballs, and we didn't center on that, then he went to his changeup," Johnson said. "Typical Hamels game. Didn't get a hit 'til the fifth or sixth inning. He's tough. Seven wins, pretty good."

Johnson was asked whether he agreed with third base coach Bo Porter's decision to send Espinosa to the plate in the sixth inning, when Bryce Harper followed Espinosa's double with a single to right. Porter waved Espinosa in instead of putting up the stop sign, which would have left runners on first and third with one out and Ryan Zimmerman coming to the plate.

"I don't second-guess Bo," Johnson said. "I'd rather know whether he's going to be out or not rather than hold him up. It took a heck of a play. The only thing I was upset (about was) Harper should've been on second base on the play."

Making his first appearance in what Johnson called a "less demanding" role since being moved out of the closer's spot, Henry Rodriguez walked a batter and allowed a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.

"He started off a little rough and seemed to gather himself," Johnson said. "I told him after the ballgame, 'I need you, man. Long way to go. Lot of battles to be won.'

"He's taking it pretty hard when he's not successful. But he'll be back. He'll be all right."

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