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Washington Nationals Swept By Tampa Bay Rays...Manny Acta's Future Uncertain.

You can do everything right in baseball and still lose. The Washington Nationals did not do everything right today, that's not what I'm saying...but you can do everything right, and as we saw today, it won't matter. DC lefty Ross Detwiler gave up 5 walks (3 of them scored) without recording a K, and he gave up only the second HR he's surrendered this season, totally betraying his established trends and allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to tie the game at 4-4 in the sixth, but the three DP grounders Detwiler got allowed the Washington Nationals to stay close. DC lefty Ron Villone took over on the mound in the eighth with the score still tied, and surrendered a leadoff double to Carlos Pena, but Villone got Gabe Gross looking and was up 0-2 on pinch hitter Willy Aybar before getting a grounder to third for Willie hits the bag, and jumps toward the grass, across the infield, rolling into left as Pena scores from second, 5-4 Rays...That's how it would end. J.P. Howell hits one batter, but strikes out the side to preserve the win and give Tampa Bay the sweep...

Rays win, 5-4 final. (Winning on a Gabe Kapler HR for the second time this series, and sweeping the Nationals out of Minute Maid, er, Tropicana Field.

Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

HEADLINES: (Coverage Continues After The Jump)...

• It's Not Manny Acta's Fault.

• At Least Elijah Dukes Had A Good Weekend.

• 16-45, Huh...

Nationals now 16-45.


• It's Not Manny Acta's Fault.

It's not Manny Acta's fault that the winning run scored on a grounder that bounced off a base. It's not Manny Acta's fault that Ross Detwiler walked two runners to start the fourth, and it's not Manny Acta's fault that both of those runs scored, or that the two-out walk Detwiler issued in the sixth gave Gabe Kapler a chance to tie it with one swing, which Kapler did with his second HR of the weekend series with Washington. It's not Manny Acta's fault that Adam Dunn took a 2-2 and then a 3-2 fastball from Rays' reliever Randy Choate to K looking with the tying run on third, and it's not Manny Acta's fault...It's NOT MANNY ACTA's FAULT!!!

• At Least Elijah Dukes Had A Good Weekend.

Elijah Dukes returned to Tampa Bay this weekend for the first time since he was traded from the Rays to DC in December 2007, and in 3 games, Dukes was 4 for 12 with 3 doubles, 2 RBI's and 2 runs scored.

• 16-45, Huh...

With this afternoon's loss, the Washington Nationals drop to 16-45. Some perspective?...Last year's 102-loss Nationals' roster didn't lose their 46th game until Game 75 of the season. The '09 Nationals accomplish that task in just 61. The 1976-107-loss Montreal Expos took 70 games to lose 45. In 1969, when the expansion Expos dropped a franchise-worst 110 games, they lost their 45th game in game 61. The Nationals are swept for the sixth time this season. The Nationals are now 3-9 in June. 3-15 in their last 18. Winless on the road in their last nine. The Nationals are 20.0 games out of first. After today's 5-4 loss they are 6-11 in one-run games. They have 14 fewer wins than the NL East's 4th place Braves, who are (30-32) and 11 fewer than the NL East's second worst team, the Arizona Diamonbacks, who are 27-36. And they have 3 games with the 36-27 NY Yankees starting Tuesday.


Washington Nationals At Tampa Bay Rays. Game 61 or 62 of 162.

Willie Harris leads off for Washington against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields. A weak grounder to second and there’s one down. Nick Johnson gives everyone a good look at Shields. Taking twelve pitches before hitting a trademark single through second. NJ™. Shields balks Johnson to second. Ryan “DH” Zimmerman K’s swinging in front of an off-speed pitch. Adam Dunn K’s swinging at a diving 0-2 change inside...Ross Detwiler gets the first out of his first on a backhand stab by Anderson Hernandez that robs B.J. Upton of a single. Pat Burrell grounds out to third, Willie Harris dives Zim-like to snag it and fires to first. Evan Longoria gets a ground ball up the middle, and a bunt toward third with the defense shifted toward right puts two on for Ben Zobrist, who pops out to the infield.

Shields comes inside and high with a fastball to Elijah Dukes who hits a screaming line drive to left center and over the wall on one hop, ground rule double. Corey Patterson’s groundout works to move Dukes to third. Alberto Gonzalez throws his bat at a fastball outside that’s sent sailing over the drawn-in infield. 1-0 Nationals. Josh Bard flies out to center. Anderson Hernandez lines a single to right and Alberto Gonzalez tries to take third on Gabe Gross, who comes up throwing and nails Gonzalez at third...Gabe Gross grounds out to Alberto Gonzalez at short. Ross Detwiler walks Gabe Kapler in front of DIoner Navarro, who grounds to third, Harris to Hernandez to Johnson, DP to end the second. 1-0 DC.

Willie Harris skies the first out of the third to center. Ben Zobrist fields Johnson’s grounder while sliding and spins toward first, firing in time. Ryan Zimmerman lifts the first pitch to center to end the Nationals’ third...Ross Detwiler avoids a dancing bat barrell to get over and cover first on a broken bat grounder by Reid Brignac. B.J. Upton sends a change that’s up in the zone out into center for a one-out single. Pat Burrell up, Detwiler catches Upton leaning, Upton breaks for second and beats the throw from Johnson to the bag. Full-count pitch to Burrell, ball four, and Evan Longoria’s up with two on. Upton takes third without a throw, DP coming, Longoria grounds to third, Harris to Hernandez to Johnson, doube play to end the third.

Adam Dunn rips a leadoff single to right in the fourth. Elijah Dukes doubles over Upton’s head in center, Dunn to third. Corey Pattterson grounds out to first, Pena steps on the bag and throws to second, to almost catch Dukes. Alberto Gonzalez doubles to left center out of the reach of Gabe Kapler, Dunn and Dukes score, 3-0 Nationals. Josh Bard beats Carlos Pena with a sharp liner into right, down the line, Gonzalez scores. 4-0 Nationals. Anderson Hernandez fouls one into the catcher’s mitt. Willie Harris grounds out to second to end the top of the frame...Ross Detwiler walks the leadoff runner in the Rays’ fourth, Carlos Pena, and then walks Brent Zobrist. Gabe Gross flies out to deep center, Dukes backs up to the track to make the play. Dukes fires for third, and allows both runners to advance. Gabe Kapler lines a fastball up and over the middle into left, Pena scores, 4-1 DC. Dioner Navarro bunts toward first to score Zobrist, Johnson tosses to Anderson Hernandez covering. 4-2 Rays. Reid Brignac flies out to Patterson in left to end the threat.

Nick Johnson smacks a trademark single to center in the fifth. NJ™. Ryan Zimmerman sends B.J. Upton sprinting back to catch a long fly ball. Nick Johnson takes third on the flyout. Adam Dunn hits a weak-a$$ groundout to short. Elijah Dukes gets a 2-2 bender outside and Dukes just waves his bat at it and K’s...B.J. Upton hits a line drive over second for a leadoff single in the fifth. Pat Burrell gets his bat shattered, and Detwiler gets a grounder right back to him, Detwiler to Hernandez to Johnson, double play. Corey Patterson closes his glove on Evan Longoria’s pop fly to end the fifth.

Shields vs Corey Patterson to start the sixth. Patterson rips a line drive into Carlos Pena’s glove. Alberto Gonzalez pops out to the infield. Josh Bard lines out to second to end the DC sixth...Carlos Pena pops out to short. Bret Zobrist flies out to Alberto Gonzalez behind short. Detwiler lets Gabe Gross on with a two-out walk and has to face Gabe Kapler, who, of course, lines a two-run HR over the wall in left to tie the game at 4-4. Dioner Navarro grounds out to end the sixth.

Anderson Hernandez walks to leadoff the top of the seventh. Willie Harris? Flies out to Upton in center. Randy Choate comes on to face Nick Johnson. Johnson grounds out, Hernandez takes third. Ryan Zimmerman gets the intentionals to bring up Adam Dunn. Choate vs Dunn, Lefty vs Lefty. Adam Dunn takes two two-strike pitches and the second one gets him rung up to end the inning...Julian Tavarez vs Reid Brignac to start the Rays’ seventh. Dukes takes a few steps back to catch Brignac’s flyout to center. Tavarez drops a two-strike slider in to get Upton guessing. Pat Burrell takes a two-out walk off of Tavarez. Evan Longoria K's chasing.

Dan Wheeler gets a fly ball to left from Elijah Dukes. Gabe Kapler charges in to catch the second out off of Corey Patterson’s bat. Alberto Gonzalez can’t overcome the cowbells which rise and clang in unison as he grounds out to end the DC eighth...Carlos Pena hits a leadoff double to right center off of Ron Villone. Ben Zobrist gets a second chance when his foul to left falls into the middle of the “bullpen”, but Villone gets a backwards K anyway. Willy Aybar grounds out to the bag, the ball hits the bag and ricochets into left field. C’mon...Pena scores from second, 5-4 Rays. Ron Villone give Gabe Kapler the intentionals. Villone out. Joe Beimel’s on to face Dioner Navarro. Double steal, Upton runs, Gabe Kapler tries to sneak into second, and they get him easily there, and Beimel gets Navarro swinging to end it.

J.P. Howell vs Cristian Guzman. Guzman takes strike three on a fastball inside. Anderson Hernandez K’s swinging over a breaking ball. Austin Kearns takes one in the numbers to put a man on for Nick Johnson, who can’t hold up on a slider that drops out of the zone, strike three. Ballgame. Rays win 5-4 final.

Nationals now 16-45.