Dodgers starter Aaron Harang delivers a pitch during the Dodgers'… (Greg Fiume / Getty Images )
The Dodgers are in desperate need of a new story. One that doesn’t have them getting solid pitching, minimal offense and losing a close game.
It was more of that same old, tired, frustrating story for the Dodgers early Wednesday, as they dropped the first game of their doubleheader, 3-1, to Nationals in Washington, D.C.
With the Cardinals have yet to play Wednesday, the loss dropped the Dodgers two games back of St. Louis for the final playoff spot.
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The Dodgers had their share of opportunities in the opener, but consistently failed to come up with the big hit or to manufacture runs.
The Nationals, meanwhile, drove in their three runs on a sacrifice fly and two groundouts.
Aaron Harang (9-10) started for the Dodgers and pitched well enough, but well enough is not good enough these days with the way their offense is underperforming.
Manager Don Mattingly had a quick hook for Harang, taking him out after he’d thrown 4 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs, seven hits and a pair of walks. Shawn Tolleson, who has become something of a Mattingly favorite, gave up the other run in his only inning.
Jordan Zimmermann picked up the victory for the surprising Nationals, owners of the best record in baseball. The victory enabled the Nationals to become the first club to reach 90 wins.
Zimmerman (11-8) went six innings for Washington, holding the Dodgers to one run, six hits and two walks. He struck out four.
The Dodgers scored their only run against Zimmermann on singles by Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez in the third.
But the Dodgers picked up leadoff doubles and had a runner at third with one out in both the second and seventh innings and could not push a run across.
The Dodgers finished the afternoon one for 14 with runners in scoring position.
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