The Washington Nationals record dropped below the .500 mark after the team lost four of their last five games played from May 19-24. Washington lost two games to the Cincinnati Reds and then lost three straight games to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

May 19-21: Nats Lose Series, 2-1, to Reds

The Nationals fell, 4-3, in Game 1 of their series with the Reds on May 19 in D.C. Washington had a shot at winning after a late rally in the ninth inning when Zack Walters hit a sacrifice fly to get Ryan Mattheus home for the tying run. The game lasted 15 innings before the Reds pulled away for the win.

Washington’s only win of the week came in Game 2 against the Reds on May 20. Center fielder Denard Span had five hits and two RBI to lead the Nationals to a 9-4 victory. Starting pitcher Doug Fister lasted seven innings and gave up two earned runs with six hits.

But the Nationals lost Game 3, 2-1, on May 21. Span produced the team’s only run with an RBI in the first inning, while the rest of the team had just six hits.

May 22-24:Washington Loses Three Straight to Pirates

The Nationals then went on to lose the next three consecutive games in Pittsburgh. Washington’s hitting struggles continued from the Reds’ series, producing just five hits in a 3-1 loss to the Pirates in Game 1 on May 22.

The bats were a little better in Game 2 on May 23 with 8 hits total for Washington. First baseman Greg Dobson and left fielder Scott Hairston each had an RBI. But starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann gave up four runs within the first four innings, allowing the Pirates an early lead that the Nationals weren’t able to overcome.

Game 3 resulted in a 3-2 loss for the Nationals on May 24. But the batting woes were back as Washington totaled just five hits again for the game. Dobbs, shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos were the only players to hit safely in the game. Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg lasted seven innings with seven strikeouts, but gave up three earned runs, including a home run in the fourth inning.

Next-up: after a Sunday game in Pittsburgh, the Nationals will host the Florida Marlins in a three-game series on May 26-28 in D.C. Washington will then host the Texas Rangers in a three-game series in D.C. on May 30-June 1.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor