The Washington Nationals started the week with a home series win over the L.A. Dodgers in D.C., but eventually fell to third place in the National League East division after losing two straight games on the road to the Oakland Athletics. Washington currently holds a 19-17 record.

May 5-7: Nats Win Series over Dodgers

Washington used six pitchers, including starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and five members of the bullpen in Game One of the series against the Dodgers on May 5. But none of them gave up a run as the Nationals shut out L.A., 4-0. Third baseman Anthony Rendon and second baseman Danny Espinosa each hit home runs to give Washington all the scoring they would need to secure the win. Centerfielder Denard Span had three hits and first baseman Adam LaRoche had two hits.

The Nationals lost Game Two of the series badly, 8-3, on May 6 but bounced back to win the series with a 3-2 win in Game Three of the series with the Dodgers on May 7. Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg lasted seven innings, allowing just earned runs with six strikeouts. Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano closed the game out for his seventh save of the season. LaRoche led the Nationals with two RBI and catcher Wilson Ramos added another RBI to give Washington its three runs.

May 9-10: Nationals Lose Two Straight to Oakland

Unfortunately for Washington, the road west led to a hot-streaking Athletics team that shut out the Nationals, 8-0, in Game One of three game series on May 9. Starting pitcher Doug Fister was awful, giving up nine hits and seven runs (five earned runs) in just four innings pitched. The Nationals were just as bad offensively at the plate, recording just three hits the entire game.

Washington was in position to tie the series in Game Two on May 10; they led, 3-1, in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Soriano blew a possible save and gave up two earned runs to force a 10th inning. Relief pitcher Drew Storen took over the mound in the 10th inning, but he gave up the game-winning run when Athletics catcher John Jaso hit a double that allowed second baseman Nic Punto to cross home plate for the 4-3 victory.

Next-up: following Sunday’s game against the Athletics, Washington will travel to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks in a three-game series on May 12-14. Thereafter, the Nationals will return home to host the New York Mets in a three-game series on May 16-18 at Nationals Stadium.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor