GORZELANNY POUNDED FOR THREE HOMERS IN 11-3 LOSS
Monday was an interesting -- and busy -- day for the Washington Nationals.
First came the reports that P Brian Broderick was claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that the Nats drafted him from during the Rule 5 draft over the off-season. A little while later, the team announced that 1B Adam LaRoche was indeed placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. For now, rest and therapy have been prescribed, but surgery is still not out of the picture.
The Nats then sent OF Rick Ankiel to Harrisburg for his first -- and perhaps only -- rehab game, where he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. And then later in the evening ESPN.com reported that GM Mike Rizzo and veteran catcher Ivan Rodriguez were both disciplined for verbally confronting the umpiring crew following Thursday's 1-0 loss to the New York Mets.
Oh, they played a game too. Though they probably wished they hadn't.
Tom Gorzelanny gave up three home runs, putting his team in a hole they were incapable of climbing out of, en route to a thorough 11-3 pasting to the Milwaukee Brewers before 22,906 at Miller Park.
The loss was the Nats third in a row since pounding Baltimore Friday night, and fifth in six games, dropping the Nationals record to a season-high five games below .500 at 21-26. Washington is now eight games back in the division and trail the fourth place Mets by a game and a half.
The Nats got down quickly and never challenged. Corey Hart and Prince Fielder both homered in the bottom of the first off Gorzelanny (L, 2-4, 4.25), giving Milwaukee a 3-0 lead after the first frame. Michael Morse led off the second with a homer off Yovanni Gallardo (W, 6-2, 4.35), but that's as close as the Nats would get as Gallardo retired the next 12 batters he faced. When he was done, had given up just five hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out nine.
Hart hit another shot in the fifth off Gorzelanny and a third in the eighth off Doug Slaten, when Slaten and Drew Storen combined to surrender five runs on four hits and a walk. The three home runs for Hart were the first three of his season, after hitting 31 in 2010. He entered play with no home runs and one RBI in 76 at bats, hitting .237. His seven RBIs for the night were a personal record and tied a franchise high.
All told, Gorzelanny gave up six earned runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out six.
The thing that sticks out though is that despite being six runs down, the Nats had their chances in both the sixth and seventh innings against Gallardo, getting two runners on with only one out. They failed to score either time, and the Brewers erupted for the five-spot in the eighth to close things out.
The Nats scored twice in the ninth after things had been decided. Jerry Hairston's triple plated a run and he scored on a Roger Bernadina ground out.
The Nationals now find themselves going backward really fast. They are now without two-thirds of the middle of their order for the foreseeable future, though with the way LaRoche was hitting, that might be a blessing in disguise. The schedule does them no favors either. They have two more games in Milwaukee, then come home for a six-game stand with San Diego and Philadelphia. They then embark on their longest road trip of the season, a ten-game west coast trip that takes them to Arizona, San Francisco and San Diego.
No rest for the weary.
THE GOOD: Henry Rodriguez threw a hitless, scoreless inning, striking out two.
THE BAD: Wilson Ramos went 0-for-4 in the fifth spot in the order, stranding five. Ian Desmond went 1-for-5, but struck out three times. He's on a 170-strikeout pace for the season.
THE UGLY: The bottom of the eighth. Still within hailing distance at 6-1, Milwaukee put five up to make it a laugher. Storen gave up consecutive doubles for a run, then gets a ground ball out and a strikeout before walking leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks on five pitches. Manager Jim Riggleman brings in Doug Slaten, who pours gasoline on the fire, serving up Hart's third home run of the game, a slider that simple hung in the middle of the plate.
THE STATS: Eight hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts. 0-for-10 with RISP, nine LOB, 0 GIDP. E: Cora (1)
NEXT GAME: Tuesday at Milwaukee at 8:10 pm EDT. Livan Hernandez (3-6, 3.64) against Chris Narveson (2-3, 3.44)
HARPER WATCH: Bryce Harper went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in Hagerstown's 10-5 with over Greensboro.