Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
How it happened: It turns out that Diamondbacks series out in the desert of Arizona, when they scored 32 runs in three games, may have been a mirage for the Nationals' offense.
Because in the four games since, their lineup has fallen back into a weary funk. In Tuesday's loss to the Indians, the Nats managed just one run and have now only scored three total runs in their last three games. Three runs. Even if Max Scherzer is on the mound - and he pitched well on Tuesday night - that is rarely going to cut it.
Scherzer was brilliant for most of his outing. He didn't allow a baserunner until he walked Tyler Naquin with two outs in the fifth. And he didn't give up a hit until Francisco Lindor singled with one out in the seventh. He had both batters at two strikes.
After Lindor's hit, though, things quickly unraveled from there. The speedy All-Star scooted to third on a throwing error by Scherzer and then scored on a double by Jose Ramirez. Ramirez then stole third and scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall bloop single.
The Indians added another score in the ninth, again thanks to Ramirez. He singled home Jason Kipnis, who led off with a double, to give the Indians an insurance run.
The Nats couldn't get much going against Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who tossed 6 1/3 shutout frames on four hits and two walks. Reliever Andrew Miller took over from there and gave up a solo homer to Jayson Werth. That was it for the Nats, though, as they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Nats have lost two of three to follow a four-game winning streak. This was the first time the Indians have ever played at Nationals Park, which opened in 2008.
What it means: The Nats fell to 66-46 on the season and 33-22 at home. They are now 10-5 against the AL Central division this season.
Scherzer good, but not good enough: Scherzer was strong overall and did enough to win on a normal night, if only the Nats' offense had given him some help. He was eight outs away from getting his third career no-no, and has now taken a no-hitter until the sixth inning or beyond in eight of his 57 starts as a National.
Scherzer ended up working seven innings with just two runs (one earned) allowed on three hits and a walk. He didn't get charged with the first run because it involved his own error, which is a strange MLB rule. Scherzer struck out 10 batters for his 10th double-digit strikeout game and the 46th of his career. Only Clayton Kershaw (51) has more among active pitchers.
With his second strikeout of the night, he reached 200 on the season. This is the fifth consecutive year he's hit the 200-strikeout mark. Among active players, only Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander have also accomplished the feat.
Revere has a good day: Ben Revere entered Tuesday as one of just three active Nats who have faced Bauer and that experience apparently helped, as Revere was one of the few Nats players to have any sort of success off the former third overall pick. Revere had two hits, including a double, his first extra-base hit since July 23. He is now 4-for-6 with a walk off Bauer in his career.
Revere also made a very nice catch for the second straight game. This one was a leaping grab in left-center field to rob Roberto Perez of a would-be double for the first out of the sixth inning. Revere leaped and caught the ball just inches from the top of the wall. At the time, it was a huge out given Scherzer was still nursing a no-hit bid.
Murphy struggles again: All-Star Daniel Murphy has found himself in a bit of a slump. He went hitless on Tuesday for the third straight game, a span of 10 at-bats. This is the longest hitless stretch for him this season. Consider this: Murphy didn't go two straight games without a hit this year until June 3-4, in his 54th appearance. That was one of just two other times this year he's gone two straight hitless games. During this stretch Murphy has seen his batting average drop from .356 to .347.
Up next: The Nats and Indians play the last game of their 2016 interleague series with a 4:05 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday afternoon. Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 4.13) will get the start opposite right-hander Josh Tomlin (11-4, 3.81).
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES