PITTSBURGH - There's no doubt the Nationals have hit a rough stretch from an offensive perspective.
Denard Span has actually gotten hot of late, and he added two hits (including a double) today, but he addressed his team's overall struggles with runners in scoring position lately.
"We could do better," Span said. "We definitely could do better with guys in scoring position. You look up at the scoreboard, the number of guys left on base is very high. So we could definitely do better. But we've just got to stick together right now and try to find a way to grind out a win and try to turn things around."
Span smoked a ball right at Pirates first baseman Ike Davis in the fifth that resulted in a line-drive double play when Davis doubled off Jordan Zimmermann. It was one of a number of loud outs for the Nats tonight, something that's also been a trend lately.
"We're definitely going through a little bit of a tough patch right now," Span said. "We just haven't been able to catch any breaks. Guys are diving for balls left and right the last three or four games and taking away some key hits that could change the game. But we've just got to weather the storm."
Jordan Zimmermann allowed four runs over six innings tonight, giving up seven hits, striking out four and walking two.
"I thought I was making some pretty good pitches," Zimmermann said. "Russell Martin, really if I could take one pitch back, it would be the changeup to (Pedro) Alvarez, and we win the game 3-2. It was just a changeup I left up, and he put a good swing on it."
Zimmermann was asked if it was the pitch or the execution of that pitch that was the issue on the changeup to Alvarez, that resulted in a two-run homer.
"Just the execution," he said. "If I get that down and away where I want it, he's rolling over, potentially a double play. I just left it up. That's what's going to happen when you throw that pitch middle."
Zimmermann has said his slider hasn't been as crisp as he would like this season, but he felt that pitch took a step in the right direction tonight, with the exception of one slider that he overthrew in the second, resulting in a wild pitch that scored a run.
"The slider was good tonight, except for that one pitch like you said," Zimmermann said. "I just held on to it a little too long, and it got away. For the most the slider was good tonight, and the curveball was good. It comes down to one pitch, and that's the frustrating part about this game. You pitch so well, and leave one pitch over the middle and they hit a home run, and you end up losing 4-3."