LOS ANGELES -- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez lost his pitch control in the sixth inning, and that ended up hurting the Nationals, who lost to the Dodgers, 2-0, at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Nationals ended up getting swept in the three-game series, and are now on a four-game losing streak.
It was a game that saw outfielder Tyler Moore make his Major League debut and Bryce Harper make a great catch in center field, along with going 1-for-3 with walk. But that was overshadowed because of what happened to Gonzalez in the sixth.
Gonzalez was cruising in the first five innings, allowing two hits and striking out five hitters. However, he had trouble throwing strikes the following inning.
After getting Mark Ellis to pop up to shortstop Ian Desmond, Gonzalez walked the next three hitters -- Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe.
Manager Davey Johnson wasn't sure why Gonzalez lost his control that inning. The skipper speculated that Gonzalez may have had problems throwing the baseball after getting hit on his left forearm by a line drive off the bat of Justin Sellers an inning earlier.
"He had some discomfort in his left forearm. He got hit pretty good. You don't see that often, but I'm sure that bruise was a big part of it," Johnson said about the sixth inning. "It didn't have a lot swelling in it. He said he felt fine."
Gonzalez didn't make any excuses for his sixth-inning problems. He said he simply made bad pitches.
"I kind of put it in a way where I was beating myself there. I was trying to be too perfect -- to throw pitches too perfectly. It kind of got away from me," Gonzalez said.
After the walks, James Loney blooped a single to left-center field, scoring Kemp and Ethier. Gonzalez's consecutive scoreless-innings streak ended at 25 1/3, which set a Nationals record.
"I was just trying to get a ball to drive, at least to the outfield," Loney said. "I didn't hit it that hard, but the swing path felt good to the ball."
It didn't seem to matter that Gonzalez broke the innings record.
"As soon as I gave up the hit, I wanted to settle back down and go after the hitters," Gonzalez said. "I kind of beat myself out of that game. I tried my best to give the team an opportunity to go out there and get us a win. I wish I could have kept that ball down.
"I was trying to find my slot again. Then again, they have a good lineup. It's heavy caution with some of the guys you face. It was just one pitch. One pitch made a difference. If I put the pitch down, it's a different ballgame. I left it up to a good hitter. He did his job and put it in play."
Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano was too strong for the Nationals, allowing three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out nine batters. Washington had only one person in scoring position against Capuano, and that was in the fourth inning. Desmond led off with a double, but was left stranded at third base.
During the three-game series against Los Angeles, the Nationals scored five runs.
"They pitched us pretty tough the whole series," Johnson said. "We really didn't make a lot of adjustments. I guess the scouting report on us is to crowd us. We didn't get after them there. You have to tip your hat. They have a good pitching staff over here. We pitched good enough to win. It just wasn't good enough."
With the loss, the Nationals fell to 14-8 and are tied with the Braves for first place in the National East.
"It would have been nice to go home with a nice win, but that's the way baseball is," Gonzalez said. "The Dodgers are hot right now. They are swinging the bat. Their pitching is doing great. Hopefully, we can go back to Washington and we can change it up a little bit. Our next two teams are the Diamondbacks and Phillies. We'll see how that goes. Again, we'll try our best to continue to play Nationals baseball -- go out there and pitch, and go out there swinging."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.