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Nationals 2, White Sox 1: One run isn't enough this time

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For the second straight game, the White Sox scored an early run, then tried to nurse it through the rest of the game. This time, it didn't work.

It's hard to pin the blame on Phil Humber, who pitched a 6 2/3 innings that would normally be good enough. He allowed only three hits, but one of them happened to be a two-run homer to Danny Espinoza that lost the lead. It wasn't a terrible pitch -- a curve below the knees -- but lefties do like the ball down.

He and Chris Sale helped restore normalcy to a gassed bullpen, with Sale pitching the other 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He stranded two inherited runners and struck out three.

Nope, this one's on the offense, and Adam Dunn is at the center of the problems.

Dunn struck out four times, and the one that was most harmful came in the third. With runners on second and third and one out, Paul Konerko shot a sharp single to right to score Omar Vizquel. Carlos Quentin had to hold up at third, and up came Dunn.

Dunn went down swinging -- late on an 85-mph Livan Hernandez fastball up in the zone -- and Alex Rios popped out to end the inning. It was the second time Dunn struck out with runners in scoring position, but with one out and a hittable pitch, the onus was on Dunn to deliver.

The Sox never truly threatened again. In fact, outside of Juan Pierre's double to start the bottom of the first, the Sox never put a leadoff runner on base. Hernandez kept them off balance with strikeouts and pop-ups.

It didn't help that the wind was blowing in from left. The Sox lost two homers that way. Rios seemed to get all of one to lead off the sixth, and Konerko had an excellent at-bat with a runner on and two outs in the seventh. He took the changeups to get into a 3-1 count, swung at two hittable fastballs, and connected with the full-count one.

Both of them died on the track. Among other casualties, the Sox's streak of 17 consecutive interleague series victories perished as well.

Record: 38-41 | Box score | Play-by-play