WASHINGTON -- Add poor defense to a growing laundry list of reasons why the Nationals have struggled this season.
Two late errors in the seventh and eighth innings wasted another gem by Max Scherzer, who struck out six in six innings while also driving in a run with a single. The bullpen wasn’t to blame on this day, as the shaky defense prevented four relievers from protecting a one-run lead against the Marlins on Memorial Day in Washington’s 3-2 loss at Nationals Park that ended the team's season-best three-game winning streak.
“We had two unearned runs today and those guys came in and threw the ball really well,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We just didn’t make two plays and it cost us two runs.”
“I was trying to tag the guy and didn’t have a good grip on the ball, and his leg knocked it out of my glove,” Adams said.
“[Our staff] said we wouldn’t have gotten it. It was 50-50,” Martinez said when asked if he thought about challenging the call. “They couldn’t really tell. We were trying to see if Adams touched him before [losing the ball] and there was nothing definitive.”
Moments later, with Rojas on third and Urena on first, Harold Ramirez smacked the ball to shortstop, a grounder that could have turned into an inning-ending double play for the Nationals. But the Miami center fielder beat the throw to first, and Rojas scored to tie the game at two.
“I knew I couldn’t go to second, so I feel like I couldn’t set up and secure the ball and make a good throw and threw it too high,” Turner said.
“Ball needs to be caught,” Adams said simply of the high throw glancing off his glove.
The Nationals have committed 40 errors this season.
“I was just able to get it up in the zone enough and just put a good swing on it,” Scherzer said. “It’s good when you work hard in between your days and you get to the plate and you get a chance and get an RBI.”
Despite another strong outing, the Nationals are 2-10 when their ace takes the mound. Scherzer has been provided with three runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts this season.
The Nationals had a chance to tie and take the lead in the eighth, but they couldn’t take advantage of a bases-loaded situation. With two outs, Juan Soto, who had a .333 career batting average with the bases loaded, flew out to left field. The 20-year-old did extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a double in the fourth.
After winning their first series since May 16, the Nationals now travel to Atlanta for the first time this season for a two-game series.
“Just don’t harp on today. I think we played good baseball the last four days. Today may be a little bit of a step back in that sense,” Turner said. “But I think just keeping doing what we’re doing and continue that confidence.”