WASHINGTON (AP) -Before Monday's home opener, the
spoke about being happy to finally be off the road, about being quite sure they aren't as bad as their record would suggest,
about how it's far too early to be worried.
And a few hours later, after hearing boos during a 9-8 loss to the
, the Nationals were saying a lot of the same things. After all, they still have a zero in the win column, the only major
league team that's lost every game so far.
Facing a Phillies club stunned by the death of longtime broadcaster Harry Kalas shortly before the game, the Nationals dropped
to 0-7 because they once again couldn't pitch or field well enough to back an offense that is doing its part.
''We're going to figure it out. I don't know if it's going to be tomorrow or it's going to be June,'' said left fielder
, who homered, doubled and made an error in his first home game in D.C. ''I promise: We're going to figure it out.''
homered for Philadelphia, and
(1-1) allowed four runs in six innings to earn the win.
collected his third save - that makes 47 chances converted in a row - despite giving up
's two-run homer in the ninth.
The Phillies had a photo of Kalas, who was 73, taped inside their dugout during the game. He collapsed in the stadium's broadcasting
booth a couple of hours before the first pitch and died after being taken to a hospital. The teams discussed whether it would
be appropriate to postpone the game.
''I know Harry. I know Harry would want us to play,'' Phillies manager
said. ''It's just a sad day.''
After Victorino homered in the third, he crossed himself, then pointed up to the booth at Nationals Park where Kalas was supposed
to be working.
''It sounds like he passed in the place he would want to,'' said Howard, whose homer snapped a 4-4 tie. ''He was up in the
Zimmerman's homer, which followed
's fifth single of the day, wasn't enough because reliever
(0-1) came on to start the seventh and did this: hit batter, hit batter, three-run homer by Howard, strikeout, solo homer
by Ibanez. In the eighth, Rivera's replacement,
, gave up another run.
''We need to hold the opposition to less than six, seven, eight runs - and I think we'll have a chance to win,'' Nationals
manager Manny Acta said. ''The main thing is we can't be allowing eight, nine runs every day.''
It didn't help that the Nationals made three errors that contributed to three unearned runs.
Every mistake is haunting a team that led the majors with 102 losses last season and hoped that adding free-agent slugger
Dunn and some spare parts would be enough to change directions.
''I don't think we're worried. We've been in pretty much every game that we've played in,'' Zimmerman said. ''A little bit
better defense, and pitch a little bit better, and everything's going to come around. But, I mean, it would be nice to break
Instead of focusing on the joys of a home opener - a Nationals Park-record crowd of 40,386 showed up - pregame talk for Washington's
players, manager and front office was all about the losing streak.
Acta was asked if he worries about his job security. The team has not exercised a 2010 club option in his contract.
''If ... they're going to judge me over six, seven, eight games or whatever, that's up to them. I really don't worry about
that, because I'm going to get a job if it's not here,'' Acta said. ''My hope is to be here for the next 20 years, but if
I don't, I'll have a job somewhere.''
Team president Stan Kasten, meanwhile, acknowledged season-ticket sales are down from last season but wouldn't reveal by how
Asked if he's disappointed in his team's start, Kasten said: ''I never sleep after a loss. That hasn't changed. So I could
really use some sleep.''
Notes: Philadelphia has trailed in each of its four wins. ... Nationals INF-OF
went on the 15-day DL with a pulled side muscle. 2B
was brought off the DL and started; he made two errors. ... Guzman went 5-for-5 - all singles - with two RBIs and a steal.
But he departed for a pinch runner in the ninth because he felt ''a little pop'' in his left hamstring coming out of the batter's
box and again as he reached first base. Asked how much time he'd miss, Guzman said: ''Maybe not a lot, because it's not too
bad.'' ... Nationals RHP
went five innings, allowing four runs - one earned.