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Lannan saddled with tough-luck loss

Lannan saddled with tough-luck loss

WASHINGTON -- Left-hander John Lannan was good, but Braves right-hander Javier Vazquez was better.

Vazquez pitched his third complete game of the season and defeated the Nationals, 4-1, at Nationals Park on Friday night.

Vazquez gave up just three hits -- one of them a solo home run by Josh Bard -- while Washington went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Its only other chance to score occurred in fourth inning. With Ryan Zimmerman on second and one out, Josh Willingham flied out to center fielder Nate McLouth and Pete Orr flied to right to end the inning.

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"I'm just throwing the ball well," Vazquez said. "Nowadays, there's not a lot of complete games. When I'm on the mound, I want to throw eight, nine innings. That's the bottom line."

Lannan didn't give up any earned runs in seven solid innings, but he was hit with some bad luck on defense in the first. It started with the lights playing a role.

After Lannan was able to get two quick outs, Chipper Jones came to the plate and hit a fly ball to Willingham in right field. Willingham couldn't see the ball because of the lights and the ball dropped in for a base hit.

"The ball was in the lights -- I couldn't see it," Willingham said. "I don't have any control about adjusting the lights. I just worry about what I can do."

With runners on first and second, Yunel Escobar hit a ball that went under Orr's glove at second base. On the replay, it appeared the ball deflected off the left leg of second-base umpire Scott Barry and went then went under Orr's glove.

Orr said Barry had nothing to do with the error.

"I just missed it," Orr said. "I thought I had it. I hit the ball hard and I stepped to my right. I thought I was going to catch it. Obviously, I didn't. The umpire didn't get in my way. That was 100 percent me. I should have had it."

Garrett Anderson, the next hitter, hit a routine fly ball to left fielder Willie Harris. It looked like he had a bead on it, but the ball dropped between him and center fielder Justin Maxwell for a hit. Brian McCann ended up scoring on the play.

Lannan said he was not disappointed that the defense betrayed him.

"I was not disappointed -- it just happened all together," Lannan said. "I had thrown a lot of pitches. I really didn't let it get to me. There have been plenty of times I didn't have my best day, and they come back to pick me up. I can think of a couple of times where I have gone two innings and the bullpen, defense and offense have picked me up.

"Today was one of my better starts, and I said I was not going to let it affect my outing. That game could have gotten out of hand, and I told myself I was going to leave it on the line. That's what I did. [The errors] are going to happen."

Reliever Jason Bergman allowed an unearned run, no thanks to an error by shortstop Ian Desmond. The Braves took advantage of the situation as Matt Diaz hit a single to left to score Escobar.

"Everything that didn't go well was a mistake of aggression," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Nobody was passive. Everybody was getting after it. I don't care how many times I have to say it, I'm proud of those ballplayers in there with what they are going through with these losses. Things get said about the 100 losses, but there is going to payback. There is going to be a lot of wins. These fans deserve it. These ballplayers deserve it. I tell you what, it's going to happen."

The Nationals have lost eight of their past 10 games and dropped their record to 52-101.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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