Nationals hand Royals fifth straight loss

WASHINGTON -- Matt Capps was only focused on the result. Sure, it was a wild one, but the Washington Nationals still got the win.

Capps allowed Scott Podsednik's two-run single before finishing for his major league-leading 22nd save, preserving a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

"The name of it is to get three outs before they tie it or take the lead," said Capps, who also gave up two singles while saving Washington's 2-1 win against the Royals on Monday. "The last two nights were kind of a struggle to get through, but nonetheless we get the 'W' and it makes it a little easier."

Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn homered for the Nationals, who scored more than three runs for the first time in seven games.

The Royals' rally was helped by a few breaks. Alberto Callaspo started the charge with a ball just out of the reach of second baseman Cristian Guzman for a one-out single. Yuniesky Betancourt loaded the bases with an infield hit that didn't even travel halfway down the third base line.

"A lot of things haven't gone Matt's way, for a guy who has 22 saves," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said. "He could have more if he'd get a little lucky now and again."

Podsednik's two-out hit got Kansas City within one but Jason Kendall fouled out to first with two runners on to end the game, sending the Royals to their fifth consecutive loss.

"That seems to be consistent with the offense right now, getting guys on and not being able to close it," said Podsednik, who also had a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. "I don't know if we're tightening up in those situations or maybe over thinking it a little bit, trying to do too much."

Luis Atilano (6-4) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, ending a three-start losing streak. The rookie right-hander struck out five and walked none in his first win since May 31.

Atilano credited his success to his sessions with pitching coach Steve McCatty.

"Finally the work we've been putting in reflected in the game," Atilano said. "The team got my back today offensively, and defensively I was able to get quick outs."

Anthony Lerew (0-1) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Royals. The right-hander, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007, is still searching for his first major league win after seven career starts.

Willingham led off the fourth inning with his 13th homer and No. 100 for his career. He also doubled twice for his third three-hit game of the season.

After Willingham's homer, Washington loaded the bases with no outs on consecutive singles by Ivan Rodriguez, Roger Bernadina and Adam Kennedy but only managed one run on Nyjer Morgan's sacrifice fly.

Dunn extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth with a drive to center for his 17th homer.

Ryan Zimmerman also had an RBI double in the third for Washington.

Jose Guillen singled twice for Kansas City, extending his career-long hitting streak to 17 games.

Game notes
Washington right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (elbow surgery) threw a simulated game. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he was still "several weeks" away from a minor league rehab assignment. ... Royals manager Ned Yost and several players visited injured troops at Walter Reed Medical Center before the game. ... The game was delayed 49 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.