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Washington Nationals drop 3 of 4 to Braves in Atlanta, finish road trip 7-3

Washington started their 10-game road trip 6-0 with a 10-game winning streak away from Nationals Park, then they dropped 3 of 4 in SunTrust Park.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Washington’s 7-3 road trip, which left them 33-25 overall on the season, 1.5-games back in the NL East, and 21-11 away from Nationals Park, wasn’t bad. The fact that they started 6-0, with a streak of 10-straight wins on the road overall, made the final result harder to take.

Davey Martinez’s squad dropped three of four to the first place Atlanta Braves, and it took them 14 innings to secure the one win they did manage to get. The fact that they lost Jeremy Hellickson to a hamstring injury in the series finale in SunTrust Park didn’t help the sting of the losses to a divisional rival, but Martinez said he didn’t allow himself to think about the injuries they’ve dealt with over the first two-plus months.

“I try not to think about it,” he told reporters after the Nationals’ 4-2 loss to the Braves in the finale in Atlanta.

“I really don’t. I mean, I know it’s the part of the game that we don’t like and it stinks. But it happens. Unfortunately it’s happened a lot this year, but we’ve just got to keep playing.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in the guys we’ve got, and they’ve been doing well, we’ve been playing well, so we’ve just got to keep our heads up, we’ve got a day off tomorrow, which our bullpen really needs really bad, and our boys too, so we’ll come back Tuesday at home and play Tampa.”

Braves’ skipper Brian Snitker said he liked what he saw from his team in the series, which left them 6-4 against the second place team in the East this season.

“I think they performed very well,” Snitker said. “They answered a lot of questions I think. I don’t think it’s a mistake. We’re a good ballclub. And we’re in every game.

“These guys, their tenacity, and the fact that they never quit and that grit and guts that they show is going to show up every day.”

“Atlanta’s not going to go away, and they’re really good, they are,” Martinez said.

“So we’ve just got to continue to play baseball. My concerns are the Washington Nationals and the boys, and that’s what I look at every day.”

Looking at his own team, and the way they struggled to score runs, like when they wasted a two on, no out opportunity in the top of the ninth of what was a 2-2 game on Sunday, striking out in back-to-back at bats a half-inning before the Braves walked off, Martinez said there’s obviously room for improvement.

“In big moments,” he said, “we’ve asked for them to put the ball in play, and we struck out a few times in big moments today, and unfortunately we couldn’t score those runs.”

Up next, two with the Rays, who are 28-30 this season, then three with the San Francisco Giants (29-30) at home in the nation’s capital, where the Nationals enter play on Tuesday night with a 12-14 record thus far in 2018.

Martinez said last week he was confident they would start to win some games in front of the hometown crowd.

“We’ve played some pretty good ballgames at home as well,” the first-year skipper said.

“We’ve played a lot of one-run games, but I love it when you play that well on the road. We’ll start winning games at home, a lot more games at home, I know that.”