Apr 28, 2011, 4:52 AM EDT
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Sean Burnett couldn’t make a clean play on Willie Harris’ ninth-inning bunt.
Jim Riggleman wandered into the Nationals’ clubhouse about 15 minutes after his team had completed a demoralizing, 6-3 loss to the Mets Wednesday night and saw at least a half-dozen players sitting at their lockers, heads down or staring off into space.
The manager made a point to walk past each guy, slap him on the back and offer one or two words of encouragement.
There wasn’t much consoling after this unsightly loss, though, not after the Nationals allowed five late runs, blowing leads in both the eighth and ninth innings. Washington’s third straight loss and sixth in seven games leaves this club in last place in the NL East only one week after it was threatening to challenge for the division lead.
Where to place the blame for this latest loss? Certainly, relievers Tyler Clippard (who served up a tying homer to Daniel Murphy in the eighth) and Sean Burnett (who gave up four runs in the ninth) played their part. The defense behind those guys, particularly behind Burnett in the ninth, wasn’t exactly crisp.
And Riggleman himself had a hand in this one, making a few late-game decisions that backfired and perhaps left him feeling like he needed to console some of his players afterward.
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