The Nationals opened a three game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. The Phillies managed a win against the Nats by the score of 4 to 2 behind a scrappy pitching performance by Kyle Kendrick and timely hitting by the Phils.
Shortly before the beginning of the game the Nationals sat Ian Desmond for the night due to his sore knee. Steve Lombardozzi started at second base and Danny Espinosa took over at shortstop. Lombardozzi batted leadoff, pushing Jayson Werth to the six hole in the lineup. The Nats offensive power took another hit in the first inning, when Kendrick hit Michael Morse on the hand with a pitch. Morse had to leave the game and Bernadina took Morse’s place in left field and in the lineup.
Edwin Jackson battled through six innings. He did not have his good stuff, allowing base runners in almost every inning. The Phillies scored a run in the first inning, which is a regular occurrence in a Jackson start. He allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins, then walked Kevin Frandsen. Chase Utley singled to right, scoring Rollins and moving Frandsen to third base. Ryan Howard struck out, and Domonic Brown ground into a double play to end the inning.
It appeared that Kyle Kendrick was also going to allow the Nats to score in his first frame. Lombardozzi flew out after seeing nine pitches. Bryce Harper smoked a double. After a Ryan Zimmerman flyout, Morse was hit by a pitch. With two on and two out, Adam LaRoche struck out.
Kendrick threw 27 pitches in the first inning, Jackson threw 24. That was the way it went the rest of the night for both pitchers. They allowed hits, walked batters and had to battle in almost every inning they threw.
The Phillies extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. John Mayberry singled, and then Jackson walked Laynce Nix on four pitches. After Erik Kratz struck out, Kendrick sacrificed the runners to second and third. With two out, Jackson faced Rollins, who has owned him this year. Instead of walking Rollins, Jackson went after him. Rollins smoked a two run double. The Phillies lead 3-0.
The Nats finally got on the board in the top of the seventh. Kendrick got two outs, then walked Kurt Suzuki. It appeared he was tiring. Tyler Moore came into the game as a pinch hitter and delivered, sending a home run over the wall in left field. The score was 3-2 and the Nats had new life.
Ryan Mattheus pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, and Charlie Manuel turned the top of the eighth into a revolving door of relievers, using Antonio Bastardo, Josh Lindblom, Raul Valdez and B.J. Rosenberg to get the Phillies out of the inning without damage, despite a walk to Ryan Zimmerman and a single by Bernadina.
Michael Gonzalez started pitching in the bottom of the eighth for the Nats, and did not have any control. He walked Utley on five pitches, and then fell behind Howard. Utley stole second without a throw, and then Howard laced a drive to right field, scoring Utley. After inducing a fielder’s choice from Brown, Gonzalez was replaced by Drew Storen, who got John Mayberry to ground into a double play to end the inning.
The Nats faced Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. The inning started well, with Espinosa getting a lead off single. Danny then made a silly decision to steal second and was thrown out. Suzuki and Chad Tracy both struck out to end the game.
Champ of the Game: For the Nationals it was Tyler Moore. His pinch hit two run homer in the seventh provided the Nationals only runs and got Kendrick out of the game.
Jimmy Rollins was the champ for the Phillies. He was 2 for 3 against Jackson, scoring a run in the first and providing the two RBI’s in the fourth inning which were the difference for the Phils.
Chump of the Game: Adam LaRoche went 0-4 with runners on each time he was up. In a tight ball game, that can’t happen.
For the Phillies, it was Domonic Brown, who struck out twice, ground into a double play and hit into a fielder’s choice.
Unsung Hero: Bryce Harper went two for four, smacking doubles in the first and sixth. Too bad he was stranded both times.
Chase Utley had a single and drew a walk in the eighth, stole second and scored a run to give the Phillies some insurance late in the game. He also had several nice plays at second, making the routine seem easy.