Nationals lose 7-6 to Astros

The Nationals had their best starter (Jordan Zimmermann) on the mound Tuesday, facing the worst team in the National League with a lineup loaded with right-handers against Astros lefty J.A. Happ. It turned into a reverse lock loss.

Zimmermann had his shortest outing of the season, allowing six runs in five innings as the Nationals fell 7-6 to the Astros on Tuesday night. They dropped back to a game below .500, losing to a team that had lost 17 of its last 20.

Davey Johnson meets with the media to discuss the Nats’ 7-6 loss to the Astros

For as many good things as the Nationals’ offense did (Jayson Werth got on base three times, Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. homered and Ian Desmond got two more hits), their pitching staff continued to slip. Their starting pitchers have a 5.02 ERA in their last 11 games, and their overworked bullpen gave up a run when the Astros strung together a sixth-inning rally on Todd Coffey.

They’ll have a chance to win the series tomorrow afternoon, with Livan Hernandez on the mound against Brett Myers. But these are the teams they need to beat consistently, and they’re still unable to do it, at least on the road.