Nationals shut out by Brewers in homestand opener

Dusty Baker mentioned this afternoon he wanted to see the Nationals start playing better at home, noting in particular his team's struggles when it returns from the West Coast.

Tonight's performance in an 8-0 loss to the Brewers didn't do anything to allay Baker's fears. It only underscored his point.

Some sloppy defense, some poor hitting with runners in scoring position and a ragged start from Edwin Jackson all contributed to a lopsided loss to open this six-game homestand against teams currently in playoff position in the National League.

Jackson, who impressed in his return to the Nationals last week with seven innings of two-run ball against the Angels, was roughed up for seven runs in five innings by the Brewers, who drove up his pitch count to a hefty 112 and forced Baker to go to his bullpen early.

zimmerman-catch-white-sidebar.jpgJackson wasn't helped by his defense, most notably Ryan Zimmerman, who botched a routine throw to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt for an error that eventually led to four unearned runs. But the right-hander didn't do much to bail out his first baseman, serving up a three-run homer to Travis Shaw later that inning.

Jackson then allowed back-to-back homers to Eric Thames and Manny Piña in the top of the fifth, turning this game into a rout.

The Nationals lineup, meanwhile, was stymied by Zach Davies, the 24-year-old with a 4.76 ERA who held this potent club in check all night with an assortment of pitches at an assortment of speeds.

It was the third time the Nationals (who went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position) have been shut out in their last 12 games after avoiding such ignominy through their first 86 games of the season.

The lone bright spot: Bryce Harper doubled down the left field line off reliever Oliver Drake to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games.

With the loss, the Nats fell to 26-20 at home this season, a .565 winning percentage. They're 33-19 on the road, a .635 winning percentage that is tops in the National League.

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