By Bruce Levine–

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — In the aftermath of disaster, they were standing in front of their lockers in the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park on Saturday when the media was allowed in.

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Cubs relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery failed to get the job done in a 6-3 loss to the Nationals in Game 2 of a National League Division Series that’s now tied 1-1 as it heads back to Chicago for Game 3 on Monday. Five outs from taking a commanding series lead, the Cubs watched as Edwards allowed a game-tying two-run homer to Bryce Harper and Montgomery followed three batters later by serving up a three-run blast to Ryan Zimmerman in the Nationals’ five-run eighth inning.

Edwards and Montgomery kept a focused, even-keeled outlook. Edwards took responsibility for hanging curveball on a 3-1 count that Harper drilled about as far as a human can hit a ball. Harper had been 1-of-7 in the series before the at-bat.

“That was the right pitch,” Edwards said. “I just hung it. When you hang it, it gets banged. It was certainly the right pitch selection and as I said, I hung it. At that moment, I really couldn’t do anything once it left my hand. As soon as I left it up, I was thinking it wasn’t coming down anytime soon.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon had chosen to keep the right-handed Edwards in against the lefty-swinging Harper because Edwards has quality reverse splits, allowing lefties to hit just .119 with a .437 OPS in the regular season.

Maddon called using Edwards the “right call” and also curiously added he was “the only option” in the situation.

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“Bryce got him,” Maddon said.

After Edwards walked Anthony Rendon, Maddon called upon the left-handed Montgomery to face the lefty-swinging Daniel Murphy, who promptly singled. Maddon then chose to stay with Montgomery instead of turning to star closer Wade Davis or another right-hander. Montgomery had held righties to a .215 batting average and .632 OPS. Davis held righties to a .211 batting average and .690 OPS.

Montgomery’s pitch caught too much of the plate, and Zimmerman’s homer landed just inches over the left-field wall. Just like that, in a span of six batters, the complexion of the series changed.

“Hey, they are a good offense,” Montgomery said. “We have to do a better job of executing pitches. Really, that is about it.”

There were no Cubs players hanging their heads or hiding from reporters in the aftermath of a gut-wrenching defeat. What was on display was a group that still has a total belief in themselves.

“A big part of it is you have to know how to lose,” Montgomery said. “You cannot let one loss affect the rest of the series. I think we are good at understanding that. It was a frustrating loss. You have to brush it off and get back out there on Monday playing good baseball, just like we have been playing.”

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Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.