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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the series opener with the San Francisco Giants…

After four with Arizona, Washington and San Francisco play three in D.C.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Davey Martinez’s club didn’t generate much in the way of offense against Arizona D-backs’ righty Zach Davies, who gave up just two runs on two hits in five innings, with Nelson Cruz’s two-run home run in the fourth the one big blow they struck on the starter, but they did rally late and ended the game with Juan Soto at the plate with the bases loaded and two out in a one-run loss, 4-3.

“We just couldn’t get that last couple runs in,” Martinez said after his team settled for a split of the four-game series with the Diamondbacks in D.C. “Towards the end we worked good at-bats, the first few innings they couldn’t recognize the changeup, and Davies has a good one, but we battled back, and we had our best hitter up with a chance to win the game at the end, but it just didn’t happen.”

Soto stepped to the plate 0 for 2 with two walks and a run scored in the ninth, after back-to-back, two-out singles (by Alcides Escobar and Victor Robles) and a base-loading hit-by-pitch (on Cèsar Hernàndez), but he popped out to end the threat and Washington’s second loss in a row after they took both ends of the series-opening doubleheader with the D-backs.

“They were good, they were locked in, they were ready,” Martinez said of his hitters’ approach as they rallied for a run in the eighth and loaded them up in the ninth. “Like I said, we had opportunities the last couple innings to put the game away, and we just couldn’t do it, but like I said, I’ll take my chances with those guys, especially Juan up there in that situation.”

His message for Soto after the 23-year-old slugger failed to come through in a big spot?

“Pat him on the back and I’ll tell him the same thing I told you guys, ‘I can’t wait till you’re up with bases loaded again, and again, and again,’ more times than not he’ll come through.”

Settling for a split of the four-game set after sweeping the first two did not sit well with the fifth-year skipper though, who doesn’t go for the idea his club is not expected to win too often early in their organizational rebuild/reboot.

“No, it bothers me a lot,” Martinez told reporters. “Look, I’ve said it before, regardless of how we feel and where we’re at, you don’t rebuild up here, you’ve got to think about competing every day, and you want to win, that’s part of what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to develop winners, and I know those guys in there, they’re upset that they couldn’t finish today with a win and win the series, but we’ve got a good team coming in tomorrow, and we got to put his one behind us and go get back on the horse and try to win that first game tomorrow against the Giants.”