Vasquez, Braves Stifle Nats 4-1 - NBC4 Washington

Vasquez, Braves Stifle Nats 4-1

This loss makes it 101

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    Manager Jim Riggleman of the Washington Nationals says the team's in a funk. And boy, what a funk it is.

    After the Braves’ Javier Vazquez stifled the Washington Nationals with a three-hitter in Atlanta's 4-1 victory Friday, the Nats' interim manager Jim Riggleman stated the obvious.

    “Basically, we're in a funk here where if it can go wrong, it's going to go wrong,” he said.

    No kidding, Jim. This is only the 101st loss for the Nats, who on Thursday became the first National League team in 35 years to lose 100 games in consecutive seasons.

    Oh, the pain, the shame of it all. 

    First, after a madcap first inning, Javier Vazquez walked to the mound with a 2-0 lead.

    With two outs, Chipper Jones lined a ball at right fielder Josh Willingham, which he said he lost in the lights. Jones was awarded a single. After Brian McCann walked, Yunel Escobar's grounder went through second baseman Pete Orr's legs for a two-base error, scoring Jones. Garret Anderson's fly ball fell between center fielder Justin Maxwell and left fielder Harris for a base hit to score McCann.

    “You get the extra at-bat, you've got to take them when you get them,” Cox said.

    And all season long, the Nationals have given their opponents a lot of extra at-bats. They have committed 135 errors -- by far the most in major leagues.

    Vazquez (15-9) allowed a leadoff home run to Josh Bard, his sixth, in the eighth inning. Vazquez also gave a leadoff single to Willie Harris in the first and a one-out double to Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth. He retired 11 straight between Zimmerman's double and Bard's homer.

    The Braves were playing great defense; the Nationals, however, were not. Three of Atlanta's four runs were unearned. The fourth came on Martin Prado's homer in the ninth.

    John Lannan (9-13) allowed two unearned runs in seven innings for the Nationals, whose 101st loss is one shy of last year's total. Lannan threw a season-high 122 pitches, losing for the fourth time in his last five starts. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six and refused to blame his team's shoddy defense.

    “It's going to happen, it just happened all together,” Lannan said.

    The Braves added a third unearned run in the eighth when Escobar led off with a sinking line drive to center that Maxwell couldn't catch. Shortstop Ian Desmond retrieved it and threw wildly, allowing Escobar to reach second. He moved to third on an infield out and scored on Matt Diaz's single.

    Notes: Vazquez is 10-2 on the road, but just 5-7 at Turner Field. ... Escobar, Atlanta's SS, hasn't committed an error in 44 games -- a career high. ... Washington C Wil Nieves missed his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring. ... Bard's home run was the 109th allowed by the Braves - lowest in the majors.