Homers hurt Hefner

Jeremy Hefner allowed four hits, two of them home runs, against the Nationals on Saturday. Al Bello/Getty Images

Home runs are becoming a problem for Jeremy Hefner.

The starter served up two more in Saturday's 7-6 loss to the Nationals and has now given up a homer in each of his four appearances this year. Opponents have seven homers vs. Hefner in just 14 innings.

"That's definitely an issue right now and something I'm trying to resolve and I'm close," Hefner said after throwing four innings and recording a no-decision. "Overall it was a step in the right direction for me but that's an issue and I need to correct that right now."

Hefner gave up a solo homer to Ian Desmond in the second, and Bryce Harper followed with a massive blast in the third to make it 3-0. Overall, Hefner did not have a bad day, giving up just four hits in four innings before being removed for a pinch-hitter, but the homers hurt him.

As a sinker-ball pitcher, Hefner needs to be able to keep the ball down, but he's been keeping it up so far this season. Manager Terry Collins hopes getting Hefner on a normal schedule will help him, as he last started 10 days ago and pitched out of the pen Thursday.

Hefner said he needs to work on his delivery.

"Just a little mechanical thing with the way my arm is coming out of my glove and leaving balls up over the middle and not getting the usual sink or depth to my pitches," Hefner said. "Overall it was better than it had been."

ONE THAT GOT AWAY: One pitch ruined Josh Edgin's night.

In the eighth inning with the teams tied at 6-6, Edgin served up a solo homer to Harper that proved to be the winning run. Edgin struck out three on the night and pitched well, but the only hit he surrendered proved to be the difference maker.

"I thought I threw the ball well today, that's where I wanted to be. I made one bad pitch and he hit it out of the ballpark, that's the ball game," Edgin said. "As a team we fought back, got to that position, and then one bad pitch."

Harper earlier hit a home run off Hefner and reached based all four times Saturday, going 3-for-3 and scoring three runs. Collins heaped some high praise on the youngster following the game.

"He beats you in so many ways, he can hit a homer but he can also steal second, steal third if he gets a single. He's a dangerous player. As I said last year when I saw him for the first time, when this guy is done playing, he's going to set a lot of records," Collins said. "He's going to do a lot of things and he can do a lot of things and that's why you have to make pitches."