Joe Ross retired the first nine batters he faced in Sunday's series finale with the San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park, striking out six.
The second time through the lineup, however, the Giants got to the Washington Nationals' rookie right-hander, with Giants' first baseman Brandon Belt doubling in a run and Hunter Pence hitting a two-run blast to left field.
Ross came back out for the fifth, but after a single, RBI double and a walk, he was lifted in favor of right-hander Blake Treinen with the Giants up 4-0.
It was the second rough outing in a row for Ross, who gave up six hits and five earned runs in 4 ⅔ IP in a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers and right-hander Zack Greinke in Dodger Stadium last week.
The Nationals lost 5-0 again on Sunday, and dropped their sixth straight game overall. Giants' lefty Madison Bumgarner threw a complete game shutout against them, striking out 14 of the 31 batters he faced in a 112-pitch effort.
Ross was asked after the loss about the pressure of going up against two of the best starters in baseball in his last two outings.
"Obviously it's a little more pressure knowing you've got, I guess, their ace today," he said, "but you've still got to go out there and pitch and try [to] give our guys the best chance to win regardless of who is on the mound for them.
"Thinking about it going into the game it's kind of in the back of your mind, but just got to focus on executing pitches."
"Early he was really good," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said. "Slider was good. Fastball where he wanted it.
"The ball to Pence was a hanging slider and then that gave them the third one and then the last inning he just fell out of the strike zone."
"They just kind of made some adjustments through the second time through the lineup," Ross said.
"I made a few mistake pitches that they capitalized on, and just kind of things added up in that one inning."
"Joe made a couple of mistakes today," Williams said. "They made him pay for it, and of course we only got a couple of hits."
Ross went back and looked at the pitches that got him in trouble and talked with reporters about making necessary adjustments.
"I think I made a few mistake pitches," Ross said.
"I looked and some of the balls they hit weren't bad pitches. One was a ball for sure, but I threw it in kind of the guy's happy zone of his swing. But just trying to know what I did the first at bat and kind of mix it up a little bit."
As for what he'll take from the outing?
Ross said he would focus on the first few innings when things were going well.
"I think [getting] off to a good start like that, just try and focus on taking the first couple of innings into the next game and not so much focus on how it ended."
Through nine starts, Ross is now (3-5) with a 3.86 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, nine walks (1.51 BB/9) and 54 Ks (9.06 K/9) in 53 ⅔ IP, over which opposing hitters have a .236/.278/.390 line.