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WSH@LAA: Aybar's RBI double gets Halos on the board

ANAHEIM -- While the final score may not show it, Tuesday night was quite a back-and-forth affair between the Nationals and Angels.

At least until the eighth inning.

Clinging to a one-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth, the Angels scored five runs off Washington's relievers, and the Nationals lost, 11-5, in front of 41,029 at Angel Stadium, leaving new skipper Davey Johnson still searching for his first win.

Todd Coffey and Ryan Mattheus combined to give up five straight hits to the Angels in the inning, including an RBI single to Alberto Callaspo, a two-run double to Mark Trumbo and a two-run homer to Hank Conger, allowing the Halos to bat around.

"We always feel like things are going to go our way," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "We have been playing great baseball up to this point and been battling. I don't think anyone in here is going to have trouble bouncing back tomorrow."

Washington fell to .500 at 40-40. Their consecutive losses to the Halos ended a streak of five consecutive series wins.

Yet, before the display of power by the Angels, the game was tight for over seven innings.

While the teams combined for four runs in the first five innings, the Nationals and Angels erupted for seven runs in the sixth inning alone.

Laynce Nix, who went 4-for-4 and tied a career high in hits, began the run parade on a solo shot to right-center field with one out in the sixth, his 12th of the season, off Angels starter Joel Pineiro. Jerry Hairston ran for Nix after his fourth hit of the night in the seventh when his Achilles tendon tightened up. Johnson said Nix will likely not be available on Wednesday.

After the Nix blast, Matt Stairs tied it up on a single to left field off reliever Hisanori Takahashi, plating Michael Morse.

"Obviously there were a couple pitches up that they hit," Pineiro said. "I got some ground balls when I needed it, but I left the ball up in that [sixth] inning and they made it hurt."

After Desmond walked to load the bases, Roger Bernadina hit a ground ball to first baseman Trumbo, who booted it, allowing the Nationals to take a 5-3 lead.

With the Angels hosting two U2 concerts at Angel Stadium a little over a week ago, the team laid new sod on the infield and outfield, which created ill effects for both clubs. The Angels committed two errors, while the Nats committed a five.

It marked the first time the team had five errors in a game since Sept. 7, 2007, against Atlanta. Washington has committed only 19 errors in 53 games this season.

"They hit balls hard and the infield was a little rough," Johnson said. "We have a fine defensive team and its unfortunate that it happened."

Nationals starter Jason Marquis was chased in the sixth when he gave up a solo home run to Erick Aybar. Collin Balester didn't fare any better, giving up a two-run shot to Vernon Wells as the Angels took a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish.

In five-plus innings, Marquis (7-2, 3.62 ERA) gave up four runs on eight hits, while walking four and striking out five for the no-decision.

"Some nights are going to be battles. I had to make a lot of pitches tonight in key situations," Marquis said. "I felt like I minimized damage enough, but I wish I could have done a better job in those lighter innings."

Threatening to take back the lead in the seventh, Washington loaded the bases with one out, only to have Wilson Ramos ground into a double play.

The Nats tacked on an early run in the first when Jayson Werth doubled on a soft line drive to right field and Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single to center.

Trumbo led off with an infield single against Marquis in the fourth, and Aybar doubled him home on a line drive down the right-field line, tying the game, 1-1.

Marquis loaded the bases again in the fifth with one out and went 3-and-0 to Trumbo, who hit a hard ground ball to shortstop, which Desmond bobbled, allowing two runs to score.

"It is unfortunate, but it happens. Seven errors," Desmond said. "Errors always make a big impact. Any time a pitcher has to throw more pitches, it makes an impact. We got beat. We'll go back tomorrow and win a game and split the road trip and be OK."

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