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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the 1st of 3 with the San Francisco Giants

Washington and San Francisco start a three-game set in Oracle Park at 9:45 PM tonight.

Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With an 8-0 lead after the top of the fourth last night, it looked like Washington’s Nationals were on their way to taking 3 of 4 from the San Diego Padres in Petco Park, especially with Max Scherzer on the mound.

Then things went all pear-shaped for the visitors in the bottom of the fourth, as the home team rallied for seven runs and knocked Scherzer out.

The Padres added one in the sixth, then walked off in the ninth, earning a split of the four-game set.

After scoring eight runs in the first four innings, the Nationals came up empty the rest of the way in the 9-8 loss.

“I honestly thought we were going to score again,” manager Davey Martinez said after the disappointing loss. “We hit some balls — we still hit some balls hard throughout the game, they were right at people.”

“We’re swinging the bats well, we’re playing well, so we just got to keep going.”

Scherzer started well too, making his sudden collapse even more surprising.

“He was — I mean, when he first got out there I thought, ‘This is going to be a good night,’” Martinez said.

“We come out, score early, score often, we got Max on the mound and the way he was throwing the first three innings was really, really good.”

“And like I said, just the wheels fell off there in the fourth inning,” the manager explained.

Now the Nationals move on to Oracle Park in San Francisco, where they play three games this weekend heading into the All-Star break.

How will the Nationals respond after the loss? After winning 9 of 11 games at the end of June/in early July, they’ve now lost 6 of 8 games, falling two games under .500 at 42-44, 4.5 games out in fourth place in the NL East. Will they get back to .500 (or maybe a game over?) going into the All-Star Break? They’ll have to deal with the NL West’s first-place Giants (54-32) in the next three days.

How will Martinez’s club wrap up the first half of the 2021 campaign?