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Nats' Late Rally Falls Just Short

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"The guys kept battling," Zimmerman said.

Jackson's first error came in the bottom of the sixth, when he threw wide of first base on a ball hit by Pat Burrell. The Nationals got out of the inning without any damage, but his shakiness at the position was established. The Phillies knew: A bunt that way might be promising.

In the seventh, catcher Brian Schneider -- inserted earlier for Harper -- pounced on a bunt from Phillies reliever Ryan Madson and threw to third in hopes of gunning down Nuñez. In this case, Jackson applied the tag, but third base umpire Paul Nauert called Nuñez safe. The Nationals felt he was out.

"Clearly," Schneider said. "I didn't even need the replay." Nuñez naturally scored on a sacrifice fly that made it 11-8.

Jackson's major gaffes, though, came the following inning. The Nationals clawed within 11-10 on Schneider's two-run single in the eighth -- giving Washington six RBI from its two catchers on the day. With Aaron Rowand on first, Jackson muffed Mike Lieberthal's bunt for his second error of the day. Nuñez figured the best thing to do would be to bunt the ball again, and in this case, reliever Chad Cordero jumped off the mound and fired to Jackson, who back-pedaled to cover third.

"Initially, I straddled the base," Jackson said, and that's where the problem arose. Jackson felt that Rowand, the runner, kicked Jackson's leg into the bag, and Rowand should have been called out on the force play. Nauert called Rowand safe. The outcome: He scored on a sacrifice fly, and the Phillies -- whose closer, Tom Gordon, wasn't available because of a shoulder problem -- had a two-run lead to take to the ninth.

"It's just the way it goes for me," Jackson said. "I've been getting a lot of tough breaks. I don't know if I deserve it or not. There's nothing I can do."

He considered his trying season, one in which he is hitting .200 and has as many errors as RBI (10). And he considered how it all fit into the course of one long, tough afternoon.

"I took the wind out of our sails," Jackson said. "We had some good momentum rolling, and I think I took the wind out of our sails. I blame the loss on myself."


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