TORONTO (AP)— Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson held a closed-door meeting after his team lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“Everybody is going to have to leave here tonight, go back to the hotel, take a look in the mirror and say ‘What can I do, starting tomorrow in that ballgame, what can I bring to the ballpark to help this ball club turn this thing around? What am I capable of doing to help this ball club?”’ Robinson said after the Nationals lost 6-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night..
Washington has lost 12 of 15 and dropped into a tie with Atlanta for last place in the National League East.
“We have to do some soul-searching,” Robinson said. “We’ve got to start playing to our capabilities. We’re going up there and not having good at-bats. You can see the frustration at the plate.”
Ted Lilly pitched six shutout innings before leaving with a sore shoulder but won his third consecutive start. The injury is not considered serious.
“I just want to be smart about what I’m doing,” Lilly said. “It’s at the point right now where there’s no reason to try and push it. Tomorrow might be a better indication of how I feel. I expect to be okay.”
Lilly (8-7) scattered five hits and struck out six. He walked just two, one intentional and improved to 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals.
Ryan Zimmerman drove in the only run of the game for Washington (33-46) with a double in the eighth inning off reliever Scott Downs, ending a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings by the Blue Jays.
With some 80 friends and family looking on, Washington starter Shawn Hill (1-3) allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings in his first start in the majors in his hometown. He walked one and struck out two.
“My parents have been able to see me in the majors, but my grandparents and some other relatives never had, so this was the first time for them,” Hill said.
Hill, who missed all of least season after undergoing surgery on his elbow, said his arm stiffened up as the game progressed.
“I was trying to fight it the whole game,” he said. “It just started getting stiff and you start throwing a little differently and leave the ball up a little bit.”
The Blue Jays broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. Bengie Molina led off with a base hit and moved to second on a out-out single by Russ Adams before Johnson tripled just beyond the reach of diving center fielder Marlon Byrd.
Toronto added two more in the sixth when Catalanotto, who finished 3-for-4, greeted reliever Mike Stanton with a two-out, two-run single.
It was the 1070th appearance of Stanton’s career, tying him with Hoyt Wilhelm for fourth place on baseball’s all-time list. Jesse Orosco leads with 1252 games.
Alfonso Soriano finished 0-for-4 and remains one hit shy of 1,000 for his career.
Robinson started Vidro at designated hitter to give the veteran infielder’s knees a break from the turf. Damian Jackson took over at second base. … Guillen had two outfield assists. He threw out Molina at second in the second and cut down Vernon Wells at the plate to end the fifth. … Attendance was 17,067, Toronto’s third-smallest crowd of the season