In one night, team ERA goes from 1.92 to 2.54

The Nats had won 10 games and been competitive in their other three, losing twice by one run and once in the extra innings. They were overdue for a loss, and with an ERA of 1.92, their light-out pitching staff was overdue for a shellacking as well. They got both in an 11-4 loss to Houston, which scored five runs off Edwin Jackson before making its second out of the game.

“Hey, you can’t win every game,” said Ryan Zimmerman, who hit his first home run of the year. “Your starters aren’t going to have a one-something [ERA] all year long. They’re still very good and can’t wait for Edwin to pitch 30 more times.”

Zimmerman said he’d never seen what Houston accomplished in the first inning  -- three triples in a span of five batters.

“If the ball was going anywhere tonight, they wouldn’t have been triples,” Zimmerman said. “It’s still not warm here. The ball’s not travelling as much.”

In one night, the Nats’ team ERA ballooned to 2.54. Jackson put a positive spin on his performance as he retired 14 of the last 15 hitters he faced. Jackson said his problem in the first inning was location. He was getting the ball up in the strike zone.

“I was still throwing strikes,” said Jackson who didn’t walk a batter. “It was just a matter of [not] executing pitches when I had a chance to put people away.”

There were no positives to be found in the rough outing of lefty reliever Tom Gorzelany – two innings, eight hits, six runs.

“Made bad pitches, made good pitches. Balls got hit,” Gorzelany said. “This is baseball. It always happens. Stuff like this happens. You bounce back from it, get over it quickly.”

The old baseball axiom is that getting over an 11-4 loss is easier than rebounding from a heartbreaker. Manager Davey Johnson sounded unconcerned, and managed like it, keeping Gorzelany on the mound on a night when he clearly didn’t have it.

“Our bullpen’s been pretty taxed, pretty much all year,” Johnson said. It wasn’t a case where I was going to throw the kitchen sink at them to try to win that ballgame. I want to go into a division series with Miami not with an over-burdened pen. Gorzo had to kind of take it on the chin.”