Solis, Uggla and Williams after 2-1 loss to Marlins

The Nationals lost a tough 2-1 decision to the Marlins on Tuesday night, and were only able to squeeze out three hits on the night. The Nationals went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

In the ninth, the Nationals got a potential rally off to a good start against Marlins late inning specialist Steve Cishek. Thanks to a base hit by Wilson Ramos and a fielding error, the Nationals had men on first and second with no one out.

Uggla high five homer.jpgIn a critical moment, Dan Uggla attempted to lay down a bunt, but bunted right back to Cishek, who was able to get the out at third and prevent the Nationals from advancing the tying run to third base with less than two outs.

“Yup, had some chances,” manager Matt Williams said. “Last inning, Cishek jumped off the mound and made a nice play on the bunt. Given the miscue there, we wanted to try to get guys on second and third. We are light in the bullpen as it is, and try to take advantage of that. He made a nice play.”

Uggla said it was difficult to lay the ball down against the sidewinding Cishek.

“No. 1, trying to get it down towards the third baseman, make him field the ball,” Uggla said. “After I bunted the first one, it felt like I hit a line drive. I bunted it so hard, it went foul. Well, let’s get it in play. Make sure it’s in play and I ended up going right back to him.”

Marlins right-hander Mat Latos was returning to the mound after leaving his last start early with a strained left hamstring. He looked in good health. Despite five walks, Latos was getting some calls. He recorded six strikeouts.

“We certainly don’t want to leave it up the umpire,” Williams said. “They’re good pitches, but we don’t want to get in that situation and leave it. We want to make sure we do what we can to put that ball in play.”

“Latos is a really good pitcher,” Uggla agreed. “He’s got good stuff. He was hitting his spots. He got settled in and we just couldn’t get anything going.”

“I’m not going to take anything away from Mat, he threw a great game,” Uggla continued. “When it comes down to it, you just got to get it done. We didn’t get it done tonight. He was on his game. We have to do a better job of grinding more at-bats out and trying to scratch more runs across.”

SammySolisSidebar.jpgAfter starter Stephen Strasburg left with an uncomfortable twinge in his right shoulder after working three innings, left-hander Sammy Solis came on and recorded three scoreless frames.

“I felt great,” Solis said. “You never want to have to pitch in a situation like that, that early on, with the starter coming out like that. But I was happy with what I did and I’ll be ready to go.

“Since my call-up, I feel like I’ve pitched pretty well and I’m comfortable out there. I don’t get rattled too easily. I was glad I kept us in the game and gave us a shot to win it.”

Solis said he didn’t think about his experience as a starter to help him with the three innings. What made it work was locating his most important pitch.

“Honestly, fastball command is what I put an emphasis on,” Solis said. “I throw a breaking ball in there, throw a changeup in there, but what I’m really working off is my fastball. I’m always going to do it and that’s what I’ve always done. It really kept me in the game today.”

With the bullpen taxed, did Solis think he was going to be out there for a while?

“I don’t think ahead too much,” Solis said. “I live in the inning. They brought me in for one, than I’m (going to) air it out for one. But if it’s three, that’s great. Whatever they need, that’s where I’m going.”

Solis also got an at-bat. He said that was his first live at-bat since high school. He grounded out to second base.

“I haven’t seen a pitch since May 2007, so that was pretty crazy,” Solis said. “But it was exciting, getting in there and seeing a few live pitches. I actually borrowed (Doug) Fister’s bat and broke it. I’ll have to pay him back for that one.”

Solis also said he would be available for Wednesday’s short turnaround.

“I think I’ll be ready whenever they call down,” Solis said. “Get my work in here today and tomorrow, and be ready for the call.”

But with Solis’ injury history, I would imagine he would get a day off Wednesday it at all possible.

As for the rest of the bullpen?

“I think we’re OK,” Williams said. “Aaron (Barrett) had yesterday off, he pitched tonight. Matt (Thornton) had yesterday off, he pitched tonight. Drew (Storen’s) available. I think we’re OK. We’ll evaluate later on tonight and see where we’re looking at.”

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