video thumbnail

WSH@MIL: Morse belts a three-run shot

WASHINGTON -- For the Nationals, it was the same old story.

Michael Morse and the Nationals played another close game, but they couldn't muster enough to prevent being swept in a three-game series by the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

Morse hit a three-run home run to continue his offensive onslaught at Miller Park, but Prince Fielder had four RBIs and Zack Greinke struck out 10 batters over seven innings as the Brewers beat the Nationals, 6-4. Washington went 1-7 on its just concluded road trip.

"It was a terrible road trip," manager Jim Riggleman said. "One and seven, that's a bad road trip."

Jayson Werth, who signed a seven-year contract worth $126 million during the offseason, was asked what needs to change for the Nationals to be successful.

After scratching his beard in thought for several seconds, he said: "I have some ideas, obviously, and some thoughts that I don't really want to share with the world right now. I think it's pretty obvious what's going on around here.

"I'm not going to get into it right now. It is what it is. It's unfortunate. We're a way better ballclub."

Werth then went on to say he feels the team is close to winning games. Of the seven losses on the road trip, the Nationals dropped three one-run games, a two-run game and a three-run game.

"We just can't get over the hump," Werth said. "We get right there and we have opportunities and chances to win games, and we don't win them. And we should."

Werth said he believed in his teammates and said the Nationals have talented players.

"A lot of these guys are younger," he said. "We have to make sure they continue to develop regardless of whether we are winning or losing. I think that's important for the future of this club. But you know, things need to change."

Riggleman said there wasn't one specific aspect of the game that was causing the Nationals to struggle.

"We've just got to find a way to put it all together," he said. "Put the offense and the pitching together more often on the same day. We did a little bit of that today. We didn't get that many hits, but we got some timely hits."

One thing that hurt the Nationals in this series was allowing the Brewers to have big first innings. Fielder hit a two-run double on Wednesday, with Ryan Braun scoring from first without a play when center fielder Roger Bernadina missed the cutoff man.

"I put the team in the hole early on," Nationals starter Jason Marquis (5-2) said.

"I had a stupid game plan at that particular moment, and it came back to bite me," he added. "The way I attacked Prince in that first inning [was] not the way I normally attack him, and I've had good success against him in the past. He came back to get me with the double."

Despite falling behind, the Nationals pulled into a 3-3 tie in the fourth on Morse's homer off Greinke (3-1). It came a day after he hit his first career grand slam. For the series, Morse was 5-for-13 with three homers, a double and eight RBIs while replacing the injured Adam LaRoche at first base.

"I haven't changed anything, just getting good pitches to hit," said Morse, whose season-opening slump cost him his starting job in left field. "I'm trying not to miss them."

Greinke, who retired 12 of 13 batters after the Morse homer, snapped the tie with a homer of his own in the fifth to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead. The Brewers never trailed the rest of the way, with Kameron Loe pitching the ninth to earn his first save.

Milwaukee has won six consecutive games and 13 of 16.

Greinke, who missed the first few weeks of the season recovering from a broken rib, seems to be rounding into form.

"I was throwing the curveball for a strike a little better," Greinke said. "That was the biggest difference, controlling the curveball a little bit. It seemed like at one point in the game, all four pitches were working decent. I guess that's something to be happy with."

The Nationals are 11-9 at home, and they begin a six-game homestand against San Diego and Philadelphia on Friday night.

"It's a tough road trip," Morse said. "It's not the first time or the last time we're going to have a road trip like this.

"I can't say it enough -- we're better than this. Things are going to come around, and we're going to start clicking and running on all cylinders. Hopefully, it's very soon. Our bullpen's been great. Our hitting's coming around now. Our starters are outstanding. When you have good things going on, good things have to happen." Comments