Nats bullpen fails again in 5-3 loss to Phillies

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm •  Published: May 25, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals' hitters are keeping manager Davey Johnson from shaving.

His relief pitchers are preventing him from sleeping.

Drew Storen gave up two go-ahead runs in the eighth inning Saturday night as the Nationals fell 5-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies, the latest failure for a Nationals bullpen that Johnson said "keeps me up more than the offense" — a strong statement considering that the manager has vowed to stop shaving until his lineup breaks out of its collective hitting slump.

"He made some good pitches, but, you know, I've got to have him. He's important to the bullpen," Johnson said.

Storen (0-1) walked Michael Young, who scored the go-ahead run from first on Delmon Young's single to the right field corner, stretching his hand across the plate to beat Bryce Harper's throw to break a 3-all tie. Pinch-runner Michael Martinez then scored on a double by Domonic Brown, who earlier hit his ninth home run.

"It's just location. It's always location," Johnson said. "You get by on stuff just a little while. You have to make good pitches. Walking a guy is the death. That's been a little bit of his problem."

Storen has allowed four earned runs in his last five appearances. His ERA rose to 5.21.

"I just left a couple of balls up in the zone and they found holes," he said. "Didn't make the pitches."

Philadelphia's win evened the three-game series and gives the Phillies another chance to reach .500 in Sunday's finale — when they can also catch the Nationals for second place in the NL East.

Chad Durbin (1-0) got two outs for the win, but was removed with one out in the eighth after allowing a bunt single and a walk. Jeremy Horst pitched out of the jam and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Denard Span had three hits, including an RBI single, while Adam LaRoche had an RBI single and an opposite-field homer for the Nationals, but it was hardly the offensive outburst Johnson has been seeking during his razor boycott. The 70-year-old manager decided to keep letting his facial hair grow despite a modest five-run output in Friday night's win.

"We had some opportunities to score, pushed a couple of runs in, but they seemed to get some big two-out runs — I don't know if all of them were two outs, it felt like it — and we didn't," LaRoche said.

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