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Early mistake, slam cost Jeremy Hellickson and Nationals in 6-2 loss to Mets...

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Things fell apart after the Nationals failed to turn an inning-ending double play in the top of the first, and Washington never recovered...

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Washington Nationals’ right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was on his way to a relatively quick, 14-pitch first in Tuesday’s series opener with New York’s Mets, but a wide throw by Wilmer Difo, and a dropped ball by Gerardo Parra at first base on the tail end of what should have been an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off of Robinson Canó’s bat extended the opening frame.

A single, base-loading walk, and grand slam followed in what ended up a 28-pitch inning for Hellickson.

Hellickson ended up getting through five-plus innings on just 75 pitches, but a single and a walk in the first two at bats of the sixth ended his outing in what ended up a 6-2 loss and a fifth run scored with Matt Grace on the mound...

Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 75 P, 44 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

“That first inning bit us, it really did,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nats’ 15th loss in the last 20 games.

“You’re down four when the double play gets you out of the inning, 0-0. Like I’ve said before we got to play clean baseball, we really do. Gotta give us a chance. Give us a chance. It’s a different game if we get out of that inning.”

Asked if it was the throw by Difo or the dropped ball by Parra at first that was the problem on the play, Martinez pointed at the shortstop.

“I think it was the throw,” the second-year skipper said.

“If he just makes a better throw Robinson is out by five feet. I think he wound up and tried to throw the ball too hard, he didn’t have to really throw the ball that hard.”

“Off the bat I’m thinking double play,” Hellickson said in his post-start talk with reporters.

“Things don’t go your way, you’ve just got to keep battling and keep competing and just try to keep it where it’s at.”

Martinez was asked about the way things spiraled out of control after the Nationals failed to turn the double play.

“Hellickson [gave up a single], walked the next guy, and the next guy, Ramos, hits a home run, but still in all we’ve got to play the game,” he said. “We tried to come back but we fell short. Like I said, if we get out of that inning, all of a sudden [Victor] Robles hits a two-run homer and we’re up 2-0. So, but like I said, we’ve got to play both sides of the baseball.

“Defense is just as important as hitting, it really is. After that Helly pitched okay, he really did. He kept us in the game.”

“Just keep making pitches,” Hellickson said when asked about how he reacted after things went wrong and the defense failed to turn the DP.

“You’ve just got to move on to the next guy when things aren’t going your way, and I’ve just got to keep the ball in the yard. It was a pretty good pitch, [Ramos] just got extended on it, but again, just got to keep the ball in the yard right there.”