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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the 1st of 3 with the Colorado Rockies

Davey Martinez and Co. play the first game of the penultimate series of the 2021 season at 8:40 PM in Coors Field...

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Davey Martinez’s club managed just four hits and two runs off Cincinnati Reds’ starter Tyler Mahle and the three relievers who followed out of the home team’s bullpen on Sunday, in a 9-2 loss in Great American Ball Park.

Martinez said after the Nationals’ third straight loss that Washington’s hitters just struggled to get anything going against Mahle.

“Their guy made some good pitches, he pitched well, in and out, up in the zone. He had a good breaking ball. So he mixed his pitches up well and he kept us off-balance all day.”

The fourth-year skipper was asked if perhaps his relatively young club was fatigued down the stretch of what’s been a tough season for everyone involved.

“It was just a Sunday day game,” Martinez said. “We know we’re flying to Colorado, so like I said, just one of those days, but they battled up there today.

“It was good to see Luis [García] come back, you know, and put a good at-bat together.

“He hit a double off the right-center field wall, and Carter [Kieboom] had good at-bats all day today as well, so that was good to see.”

Kieboom (2 for 4, with a double and a run scored) connected for two of the Nationals’ four hits in the game, lining a double off of the left field wall in the top of the third before he hit one the other way for an opposite field single in the fifth, and in his final at-bat of the game he lined out sharply to center field on another well-struck ball.

MASN’s announce team noted what they thought was a slightly lower leg kick from the 24-year-old infielder, who returned from a day off with a forearm issue, and put up his first multi-hit game since September 6th.

“Yeah, we tried to slow him down a little bit and told him just to try to hit singles,” Martinez said of the changes Kieboom made, “and stay up the middle of the field, and he did well.

“He took a ball — I loved the swing where he hit the ball the other way, and then the last swing where he just tried to stay up the middle of the field and the guy made a nice play, but all those swings today were a lot better, and he needs to continue do that for the next week. Just slow his feet down and not try to do too much, and like I said, just put the ball in play and try to drive the ball up the middle.”

What will Kieboom and the rest of the Nationals do in three games at Coors Field?