Johnson on Espinosa's stolen base attempt, plus notes

PHILADELPHIA - The injuries to Michael Morse and Ian Desmond left the Nationals a little shorthanded against the Phillies tonight. But they weren't about to blame their 4-2 loss on their missing cleanup hitter and All-Star shortstop.

"It changes the game a little bit," manager Davey Johnson said. "But we had the right guys up at the right time, just didn't get it done."

"At the end of the day, we're comfortable with anybody we put on the field regardless of what happens," Edwin Jackson added. "It's not as if a starter goes out and someone off the bench has to go in, that we lose confidence. These are guys who have been doing it all year."

Jackson has now lost all four career starts against the Phillies. The veteran righty clearly didn't have his best stuff tonight, but he battled through six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits.

"That's part of the game. I'm not looking for any extra credit for battling," Jackson said. "As a pitcher, that's our job -- to go out and try to keep the game close."

He did just that, holding the Nats in the ballgame despite giving up a number of hard-hit balls. It was clearly a much different Jackson than the guy we saw go seven fantastic innings and strike out 11 against the Mets on Saturday.

"He was just all over the place," Johnson said. "Had pretty good stuff, but I think he averaged 20 pitches an innings. That's way too many. Kept us in the game, set it up nice."

Jackson allowed a run in the first and then two in the fourth. The Nats chipped into the 3-0 Phillies lead with Tyler Moore's pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh inning, but Michael Gonzalez allowed a run in the eighth to make it a 4-2 game.

A leadoff single in the ninth by Danny Espinosa brought the tying run to the plate, but Espinosa was thrown out trying to steal second with Kurt Suzuki at the plate and none out. Johnson said that Espinosa had the green light to run and keep the Nats out of a double play, but the Nats' skipper didn't hide his displeasure with the result.

"I don't like the decision," Johnson said. "... so, we'll address that tomorrow."

Moore's homer was his first career pinch-hit jack and Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with two doubles. Other than that, the Nats managed very little off Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, who has fared well against the Nats this season.

"He just moves the ball around, doesn't give in to anybody," Johnson said. "Tyler Moore had a good at-bat and got us back in the game. I thought we had him right where we wanted him. But, see you tomorrow."

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