As gut-punch losses go, this is one of the heavier blows the Nationals have taken this season.
The Nationals got up 2-0 on the Padres, only to fall behind after Yunesky Maya and Doug Slaten combined to give up four runs between the fourth and fifth innings. They rallied to tie the game, but couldn't take the lead, and went behind for good on a Ryan Ludwick bleeder up the middle. They lost 5-4 to the San Diego Padres, falling to a season-worst eight games below .500.
For a team that plays this many close games, the Nationals simply have to find a way to win more of them. They're now 5-11 in one-run games, and they've lost seven of their last nine.
They might have gotten burned in the sixth inning, when they played for a run with men on first and third with none out, only got one run, and lost by one. But they left six men on base, went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and lost two out of three to a team that has the second-worst record in the National League.
And after that series comes a three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies during which the Nationals will face Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. They'll go to the West Coast for 11 games after that, facing a hot Diamondbacks team, the defending world champion Giants and a San Diego squad that just took two out of three from them. By the time Ryan Zimmerman comes back, the Nationals' season could be stripped of its relevance.
I'll have more from the clubhouse in a little bit.