Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Can't Beat Cole Hamels, Atlanta Braves' Tim Hudson Next.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: Ian Desmond #20 of the Washington Nationals fields the ball and throws to first in the third inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

"They made plays we didn't," Davey Johnson told reporters after last night's loss to the Philadephia Phillies. "[Cole Hamels] started the game throwing mostly fastballs,' the Washington Nationals' manager said, "And we didn't center on that, and then he went to his changeup. A typical Hamels' game. We didn't get a hit until the fifth or sixth inning. He's tough. Seven wins. Pretty good." The win stopped a four-game losing streak by the Phillies. The loss snapped the Nats' six-game winning streak on the road in Citizens Bank Park. Asked about the Nationals' inability to sweep a series for the ninth time this season, the 69-year-old skipper chalked it up to running into a tough pitcher. "We just got a good pitched game against us," Johnson said, "Tip your hat to him, he's done that to quite a few people." The loss leaves the Nats 26-18 with a .5 lead over the Braves heading into this weekend's three-game series with Atlanta. Sunday night's on ESPN. A day off today? What will you do? How about some lunch time links, RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Chapter 2 proved to be a showcase for [Cole] Hamels, his concentration and his all-around repertoire." - "Hamels-Harper rematch reflects respect" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "You had back-and-forth debates about what, exactly, 'old-school baseball' is, with players, past and present, coaches, TV talking heads and fans openly discussing the game's unwritten rules." - "Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels move forward from incident" - Anthony Castrovince, nationals.com: News

• "Perhaps humbled by the backlash he’s received in the last two-and-a-half weeks, [Cole] Hamels didn’t talk with purpose pitches, he just silenced the Nationals with all of them." - "Cole Hamels mows down Nationals in their 4-1 loss" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'It wasn't in my head at all,' [Cole] Hamels said of his tiff with Harper. 'I had nine guys that I had to face, so it wasn't on my mind.'" - "Hamels handles Harper, Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Bryce] Harper went 1 for 3 with a walk and a single that nearly scored a game-changing run." - "Nationals vs. Phillies: Cole Hamels dominates Bryce Harper and Washington in first meeting since plunking" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "[Bryce] Harper went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk against [Cole] Hamels tonight, but it was his first at-bat that he was lamenting after the game." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper discusses facing Hamels a second time around" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper went so far as to say that everyone has forgotten about what happened between him and Hamels earlier this month." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - May 23, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Ian] Desmond’s name appears on National League leaderboards for hits, total bases, multihit games, doubles and extra-base hits." - "Ian Desmond an unexpected source of power for Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

Twitter: @ThomasBoswellWP: "At 90 ABs, Harper:.267-.353-.467. Mantle & Griffey rookie yrs at 19: Mick .267-.349-.443. Jr:.264-.329-.420 Hey, prob'ly just coincidence." -

• "[Stephen] Strasburg has come to grips with the fact that, even though he is almost two years removed from the surgery, the Nationals are still placing some restrictions on him." - "Stephen Strasburg still on track after bullpen session" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Atlanta is also a strong pitching team, with starter Brandon Beachy leading baseball with a 1.77 ERA. Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson also have ERAs ranking in the NL's top 40." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - May 25, 2012" - Vinnie Duber, MLB.com Preview

• "The NL East remains the only division in the majors in which the first- and last-place teams are separated by fewer than five games." - "Nationals Pastime: Still harping on Harper" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The only question all along with [Michael] Morse has been his ability to throw; the injury doesn't affect his swing at all." - "Morse, Lidge targeting early-June return" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals have not seen Chase Utley, Ryan Howard or Cliff Lee, and for the past three games the Phillies did not have Jimmy Rollins." - "How the Nationals and Phillies stack up, until they meet again" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'The only thing that exacerbated it is [Cole] Hamels saying something,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'He didn't head hunt or nothing like that. He hit one of my good hitters in the back.'" - "Johnson pleased with Harper's play, demeanor" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The burgeoning Phillies/Nationals rivalry is getting a lot of hype. It might be getting overhyped." - "Phillies, Nationals End Series, Still Without A Rivalry" - Grant Brisbee, Baseball Nation

• "Michael Morse will play in his first extended spring training game on Friday, the first game action the outfielder will have since he was shut down April 11 with a torn right lat muscle." - "Injury updates: Strasburg, Morse, Lidge, DeRosa (and Davey)" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Brad Lidge could return to a Nationals’ bullpen in need of reinforcements sooner than expected." - "Brad Lidge ahead of schedule in throwing program" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I thought Edwin [Jackson] pitched a damn good ballgame, we just couldn't get nothing going against [Cole] Hamels,' manager Davey Johnson said." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson talks after Nats' 4-1 loss" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals did squat against [Cole] Hamels for five innings, managing only three walks and no hits against the lefty.'" - "Instant analysis: Phillies 4, Nats 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'In [Michael] Morse's mind, he is ready tomorrow, as soon as he is playing one game,' [Davey] Johnson said." - "Morse ready for game action in Florida" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals are optimistic slugger Michael Morse could return sooner than the beginning of interleague play June 8." - "Michael Morse will return by June 8 ‘for sure,’ maybe sooner" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Ian] Desmond’s name appears on National League leaderboards for hits, total bases, multihit games, doubles and extra-base hits." - "Ian Desmond an unexpected source of power for Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Due to the fundamental interconnectedness that lies at the heart of reality, your interest is also my interest."

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Alex Meyer did not factor in the decision after going five innings allowing one run (solo home run) while striking out seven batters." - "Ramsey Homers Twice, but Suns Fall in Extras 8-6" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "For the second time in three games, the Potomac Nationals were shut out by the Wilmington Blue Rocks in a 3-0 loss this morning." - "Shut Out in Wilmington: Nationals Lose 3-0" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 5, Curve 3 - Tim Pahuta - 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 HR; Daniel Rosenbaum - 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 3, Curve 2 - Eury Perez - 1 for 3, 1 R, 2 SB; Ryan Tatusko - 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "A lot of talk has surrounded the emergence of former Yankees prospect right-hander Christian Garcia, who has fought back from a pair of Tommy John surgeries." - "Garcia, Nelo and Davis making waves in Harrisburg (Hood update)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Washington Nationals Minor League Scoreboard for May 23" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Thursday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "May 24, 1943 - Former Yankee and Senator nemesis Lefty Gomez signs with Washington following his release from the Boston Braves. Gomez will lose in his only appearance with the Sens before retiring." - "This Date in Washington Senators History" - Art Audley, D.C. Baseball History

• "The big storyline last night for all the sports networks though, was the second showdown between Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper." - "The Nats' Offense Flat in Series Finale Loss against Philadelphia" - Patrick Hilley, The Nats Blog

• "Old School chicken [bleep] Cole Hamels dominates." - "Nats avoid another sweep" - Nats Enquirer

• "There was a time when you had to be in DC to watch the Nationals play, whether you had a ticket or not." - "Nats Gaining National Attention" - Keara Dowd, Win For Teddy

• "Old School chicken [bleep] Cole Hamels dominates." - "Nats avoid another sweep" - Nats Enquirer

• "Fans are fed up with the 'Wild Thing' act. Though he's blown just three saves (I know, right?), every outing is a high-wire act." - "What to do about Rodriguez?" - Nationals Buzz: Dave Nichols, MASNSports.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "Juan Carlos Oviedo, the relief pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, is a big step closer to getting his career back on track with the Miami Marlins." - "Pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo closer to returning to Miami Marlins" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com

Mets: "Tomorrow evening at Citi Field, [Jeremy] Hefner will make his first major-league start. He faces the San Diego Padres, the club that bounced him from their 40-man roster last November." - "Mets' Jeremy Hefner set to make first major-league start against Padres" - Andy McCullough, NJ.com

Braves: "Hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park hasn't been so kind to the Braves the last three days." - "Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds - May 23, 2012" - Kevin Goheen, MLB.com ATL Recap

Phillies: "Before the first time Hamels faced the Nationals this year, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke of how the left-hander has evolved in his time in the majors -- how he'd become more consistent and tougher." - "Cole Hamels is setting himself up for a mega deal in free agency" - Buster Olney, ESPN

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