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Missed opportunities cost D-backs in loss

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHOENIX -- Friday night it was Paul Goldschmidt who stood in front of his locker shouldering responsibility for the D-backs' struggles at the plate.

Saturday afternoon, Steven Souza Jr. did the same thing following a 2-1 loss to the Nationals at Chase Field.

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PHOENIX -- Friday night it was Paul Goldschmidt who stood in front of his locker shouldering responsibility for the D-backs' struggles at the plate.

Saturday afternoon, Steven Souza Jr. did the same thing following a 2-1 loss to the Nationals at Chase Field.

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The loss was the fourth in a row for the D-backs, their longest losing streak of the year. After losing the first three games of this four-game series, Arizona is assured of losing its first series of the season.

Just like the other two losses to the Nationals, the blame for this one sat with the offense, which has managed a total of three runs in those games.

"It seems to be basically the same thought that I've had over the past couple of nights, but I'm going to add in one thing," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Sometimes when you see some pretty dominant stuff on the mound, you've got to give credit where credit is due."

Max Scherzer was the winner for the Nationals on Friday and Stephen Strasburg turned in a similar performance Saturday as he fanned nine over 6 2/3 innings.

Video: WSH@ARI: Strasburg limits D-backs to 1 run over 6 2/3

Just like the night before when they had a scoring opportunity in the first, the D-backs on Saturday loaded the bases with one out against Strasburg in the opening frame and came up empty as Souza flied to right and Ketel Marte struck out.

"When you have a chance to jump on these guys early in the game before they've really caught that tailwind, you've got to take advantage of it," Lovullo said.

After A.J. Pollock's two-out RBI double in the third, Souza came up with a chance to add to the damage, but once again flied out.

Then in the eighth, with a runner on first, Souza worked a full count, and when he was called out on strikes by home-plate umpire Doug Eddings, he went to fling his bat towards the dugout.

Instead, the pine tar caused the bat to stick to his batting gloves and the bat sailed toward third base. Eddings immediately ejected him.

It was the first career ejection for Souza and he took it hard.

Video: WSH@ARI: Souza Jr. ejected following strikeout in 8th

"I really pride myself on not crossing the line with umpires.," Souza said. "I've never cursed at an umpire, I've never disrespected an umpire and if I've ever gotten too close I've always walked away because I know how hard the job is.

"I think what bothers me the most is that this game really felt on my shoulders. I really take full responsibility. The first inning I had the bases loaded, I think my second at-bat I had a runner on second, A.J. had driven in a run and then I had another opportunity and just couldn't come through. I'm going to be better. I can tell you I'm going to keep working as hard as I can to turn it around because A.J. is doing a heck of a job and he can't keep doing all of it alone." 

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Right to the end: Marte reached first to start the bottom of the ninth thanks to an error by second baseman Wilmer Difo, and he was sacrificed to second by Nick Ahmed to put the tying run in scoring position. John Ryan Murphy, though, struck out looking and Jarrod Dyson grounded out to end the game.

"We have a very offensive team," Lovullo said. "It's loaded with potential to just explode at any time and we'll wait for that moment to happen. But while it's going on and we're grinding it gets frustrating and I know these guys are feeling that."

Video: WSH@ARI: Lovullo on Souza's ejection, 2-1 loss

LAMB TO START REHAB ASSIGNMENT
D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb will begin a injury-rehabilitation assignment with Class A Advanced Visalia on Sunday. Lamb has been on the disabled list since spraining his left AC joint while diving for a ball April 2.

At one point, Lamb appeared to be on the verge of a return, but his rehab was shut down after he developed tendinitis in his right elbow.

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The D-backs are 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in the series against the Nationals and 3-for-35 over their last five games.

UP NEXT
The D-backs close out the four-game series with the Nationals with a 5:08 p.m. MST start Sunday at Chase Field. Zack Godley will get the start for Arizona against Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. Chase Field has been a friendly place for Godley this year, as he is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts there.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks