WASHINGTON - Rookie Zach Britton carried a shutout into the fifth inning before surrendering four runs, only one earned, and piling 32 pitches on his left arm. He was removed for a pinch-hitter and settled for a no-decision.
Britton deflected the attention away from third baseman Mark Reynolds' costly throwing error on a sacrifice bunt.
"Obviously, it's easier to throw when you got an out, but you know, errors happen," he said. "I knew you guys would probably bring it up, so I might as well knock it in the head because that's going to happen and you've got to be able to make good pitches to get out of that inning. I felt like I tried to overdo it a little bit, especially with a 2-1 lead. Tried to keep the lead instead of just focusing on making good pitches and getting outs. I fell behind everybody and they got their base hits. They did a good job."
Asked how concerned he is about the loss, Britton replied, "I think it's really disappointing, especially, how many hits did we have, 18 hits? How many times do you lose with 18 hits? Only putting four runs across with 18 hits kind of stinks. But at the same time, as a pitcher I think after you do make an error, you've got to prevent the big inning. They're playing really good baseball. Being able to stop the bleeding right there, rather than them getting the momentum, especially after putting up four runs, I didn't do my job."
Catcher Matt Wieters stranded eight runners.
"It's disappointing," he said. "I left a small army out there on the bases tonight. The biggest thing is we had chances to break the game open and just weren't able to come through and extend the lead. Give them credit, they fought back and took the lead when they had a chance. But we left a lot of guys out there on base that could have broken the game open a little bit earlier.
"The first two guys got on base and then it turned into National League ball where they were able to get a good bunt down and get on.
"We need to play better. Spring training is over. We've been playing for a while. We keep making the same mistakes. We have to start getting some runs and playing better defense."
"You take the positive out of it," he said. "We put ourselves in position to get some runs. The negative is we didn't come through with a hit. But as long as we keep doing it, the hits are going to come.
"I'll take 18 hits. Usually when you get 18 hits, you probably get 10 to 12 runs. We'll come out tomorrow swinging the bats and let's 18 more - but 18 with 10 runs."