Rick Ankiel walks to the dugout after one of eight strikeouts by the Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brian Garfinkel - GETTY IMAGES

Game 44: Phillies 4, Nationals 1

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Put away the brooms boys, we ain’t sweeping tonight.

Courtesy of 8 shutout innings by Cole Hamels, the Nationals were unable to get their first series sweep of the year, falling to the Phillies by a score of 4-1. Both the pitching and the bats were unable to keep up with that of the Phillies, costing the Nats a shot at taking 3 games on the road from an NL East rival. But the sweep was not the main thing on everyone’s mind.

Along with being the third game of the series, tonight was also the first time that Hamels would take the mound against the Nationals since intentionally drilling Bryce Harper in the back with a first-pitch fastball back on May 7. Hamels would later confess that the “nailing,” as it were, was on purpose, and would go on to serve a 5-game suspension.

Unfortunately, Harper was unable to get back at Hamels in the first inning of tonight’s game, flying out to deep left field and just missing his third career home run. Ironically, Harper was also the final out of the game. However, he would go 1-3, reaching base twice on a single and a walk.

It would be yet another start of highs and lows for the man who has gotten a no-decision in each of his last 5 starts. After pitching a scoreless first, Edwin Jackson would give up runs in each of the next 2 innings, giving the Nats an early 2-0 deficit headed into the top of the 4th. After calming down and retiring 6 straight in the next 2 innings, Jackson would make another mistake, throwing a meatball to Carlos Ruiz, allowing him to hit a double. Luckily, Jackson was once again able to settle down, retiring the next 3 batters in order and not allowing Ruiz to score.

It wouldn’t be until the 7th inning when Jackson would finally give up his third and final run of the night, allowing Mike Fontenot to hit a one-hopper off the right field wall for a leadoff double. After being sacrificed over to third base by Hamels, Fontenot would score on a suicide squeeze by Juan Pierre, making the score 3-0 in favor of the Phillies.

Philadelphia would then tack on one more run in the 8th inning on a Shane Victorino homer off Henry Rodriguez, giving them plenty of cushion to withstand the Adam LaRoche solo shot in the top of the 9th, giving Hamels his league-leading seventh win, as well as handing Jackson his second loss.

Champ of the Game: Adam LaRoche takes the cake tonight, as his 9th-inning solo shot plated the only Nationals run of the evening.

For the Phillies, Cole Hamels is well deserving, as he pitched 8 shutout innings and took a no-hit bid into the 6th.

Chump of the Game: For the first time ever here at District On Deck, someone has won 2 of our 3 post-game awards. LaRoche also wins the Chump of the Game award because although he did hit the home run, he also stranded a team-high 4 runners.

Ty Wigginton gets the nod for the Phillies for the same reason. Though his mistakes did not lead to a defeat, Wigginton also stranded 4 runners. In addition, Wigginton failed to reach base even once, and also struck out.

Unsung Hero: Jesus Flores quietly had another solid night behind the dish tonight, blocking several potential wild pitches. Flores also went 1-2 with a triple and a walk.

For the Phightin’ Phils, Carlos Ruiz gets the award simply because he didn’t earn Champ of the Game. Had Hamels not performed so admirably on the mound, Ruiz would certainly have deserved recognition, as he went 3-4 with 2 singles and a double.

Next Game: Friday, 7:35 PM, Nationals v. Braves in Atlanta. Detwiler (3-3, 3.65) v. Hudson (3-1, 3.03)

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Tags: Adam LaRoche Bryce Harper Carlos Ruiz Cole Hamels Edwin Jackson Philadelphia Phillies Washington Nationals

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