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WSH@MIL: Morse launches a solo shot in the second

MILWAUKEE -- Wilson Ramos and the Nationals came up a bit short in their bid to match Corey Hart's home-run prowess on Monday night, and the result was a disappointing 11-3 loss to the Brewers.

Hart hit three homers and Prince Fielder added another, as the Brewers pounded eight extra-base hits to send Washington to its fifth loss in six games.

"We're better than this, and we know it," said Michael Morse, who hit his third homer, a solo shot, in the second. "It's tough. With the talent we've got, it's frustrating right now."

The Nationals certainly had their chances, but went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, one game after going 1-for-8 in a 2-1 loss to the Orioles.

Washington starter Tom Gorzelanny (2-4) continued to struggle in the first inning, hitting Rickie Weeks to open the inning and then allowing Hart to hit his first homer of the year. The Brewers have 34 homers in 23 games at Miller Park, propelling them to a 17-6 home record.

"I gave up three home runs [in] a game, and they score a lot of runs," Gorzelanny said. "I'm not making pitches. I'm making mistakes. That's how it happens."

Ramos' night at the plate epitomized the plight of the Nationals. He hit deep flies to the warning track twice with two outs and two runners on, but Hart caught both to end Washington threats.

"I thought both of them had a good shot at getting out," Washington second baseman Danny Espinosa said. "He's got so much power that way. When things are going our way, those are going to drop in [for homers]. Those are difference makers."

Hart was so discouraged with his pregame batting practice swings that he went to the indoor batting cages and changed his swing just before game time. He changed the position of his hands and his feet, and came out swinging.

"I was pulling my hair out, looking for things," Hart said. "I changed my stance for the last round of BP, and that's what I went with."

Gorzelanny has given up six home runs -- and 11 of his 26 runs over nine starts -- in the first inning.

"Every mistake is over the fence," the left-hander said. "Bad things happen when I make a mistake. I just have to hope it doesn't happen again. When you give up six runs, it doesn't matter how you feel."

Gorzelanny pitched five innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out six.

"I give up a ton [of homers] every game," he said. "I hadn't done this before. Hopefully, things change. I've got to make sure I execute each time out, and pitch the way I know how."

Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo (6-2) gave up one run on five hits and a walk, while striking out nine over seven innings.

"It's tough," Espinosa said of Gallardo's good command. "You don't want to hit in the hole all the time. If the guy is on and he's getting first pitch strikes, you've got to battle. It's not always going to be like that. It's going to turn our way."

The lopsided loss left the Nationals searching for silver linings.

"It was a terrible beating you take, you know. But you take a lot of things to be encouraged by," said manager Jim Riggleman, listing strong relief outings by Henry Rodriguez and Sean Burnett.

"You go through these things," he said. "There's no team that goes through a season without hitting some periods like this. You like to never concede ... that, but I would say there's no team that ever goes through a season without ever going through some bad times. The key is to get out of those bad times as quickly as possible."

Morse, who made his fourth start of the season at first in place of the injured Adam LaRoche, thinks his team will start to play better soon.

"All it takes is a couple of good innings and we'll get out of this," he said. "When things aren't going your way, you start looking at everything. We just have to play ourselves out of this. The team we've got, we're not going to stop. We're going to give a fight."

Espinosa left the game in the ninth inning after being hit in the knee by reliever Tim Dillard. He had his leg wrapped after the game, but said he would be fine to play in Tuesday night's game.

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