After Friday night's loss in Miller Park, Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker talked about the need to take the last two games of the Nationals' three-game set in Wisconsin before they head back home to the nation's capital to face the NL East's second place New York Mets.
The loss in the series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers was the Nationals' sixth straight, leaving them with a 3.0- game lead over the Mets in the division, down from 6.0 games at the start of the Nats' six-game slide.
"Yeah, I know. It's dwindling," Baker told reporters, "but it's up to us to maintain or to increase our lead, so we definitely need these two games here before we get to the Mets, because you're going to see some good pitching when you get there."
Things didn't go as planned on Saturday afternoon, however. Nationals' starter Gio Gonzalez gave up six runs in three innings and the Brewers' held on for a 6-5 win, handing the Nats their seventh straight loss, which combined with New York's 1-0 win made it a 2.0-game lead in the division.
"Things aren't going good for us, but we're down to the last game on the road trip tomorrow," Baker said.
"I feel very confident we'll win it, and then we go home and get ourselves together and then we've got a long homestand, our longest homestand so far this year. So we've just got to play ball."
Washington will have to win the series finale in Milwaukee without Stephen Strasburg, who was originally scheduled to start after missing a potential matchup with Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty Clayton Kershaw last week, with an upper back and rib injury.
Baker said his team has to keep fighting in spite of the results over the last seven games.
"We've just got to keep battling," Baker said.
"My mother told me there would be days like this, but I haven't had one in a long time, you know. So this is a time for us to tighten our belt and come together.
"Things like this make you come together as a unit. And some day you look back on this as something that unified us. It's time to circle the wagons, close our circle up and just pull for each other."