The Washington Nationals losing streak extended to five games on Monday night, losing their series opener to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1. The Nationals' offense was quiet yet again, with their scoreless streak reaching 17 straight innings until a late run in the bottom of the 8th. Roger Bernardina doubled to right field, and it looked as if he might stretch it into a triple until he stumbled and his better sense kicked in with the Nats already down four runs. Bernardina was knocked in right away by Ian Desmond, but that's all Washington would put on the board in a quick game.
Davey Johnson continues to receive excellent outings from his starting pitching staff, and it was Jordan Zimmermann's turn on Monday. The hard-throwing righty worked through the Diamondbacks lineup quickly, striking out six in 6.1 innings pitched. While there was never any significant rally, Arizona would put together some hits their third time through the lineup, scoring a run in both the fifth and sixth inning.
The Diamondbacks would add two more in the bottom of the 7th to make it 4-0, but the second run came on a blown call at home. Rookie sensation Bryce Harper threw an absolute laser on the fly from deep right field to nail John McDonald, who had tagged up at third. It was as impressive, if not more, than his rope on Saturday night against the Dodgers that Wilson Ramos could not handle as Jerry Hairston slid into home. This time, the ball just beat McDonald and Ramos applied the tag to the thigh as McDonald slid in. It was a bang-bang play, but replay showed the tag was down before his foot hit the plate.
It was an incredible throw -- nearly 300 feet and without Harper's ideally planted -- but it was the only real highlight in an otherwise dull game for Washington fans. At the plate, Harper was 0 for 3 with a strikeout as Arizona starter Trevor Cahill cruised through the Nats' lineup.
The Nationals will look to snap the streak on Wednesday evening with former Diamondback Edwin Jackson on the hill. Arizona will counter with Joe Saunders, who certainly won't be easy on the Nats' slumping bats.
We'll have plenty more on this series throughout the week on SB Nation D.C., so keep it locked to this StoryStream for all the latest news and updates. For more on Harper's debut, and all things Washington Nationals baseball, please head over to Federal Baseball. You can also check out AZ Snakepit, SB Nation's Arizona Diamondbacks blog, for some perspective from the other dugout. Please head over to the SB Nation MLB hub page for more on this and every Major League Baseball game and series.