The last time the Nationals lost three in a row, it was June 27th, the team was tied for the NL East lead, and Denard Span was just beginning his two-month long assault on Major League pitching.
Unfortunately for the Nats and starter Doug Fister (12-5), that streak ended two months to the day as they fell to the Phillies, 8-4, getting swept in a three-game series for the first time since May 9-11 against the Oakland Athletics.
The Nats jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first when Anthony Rendon’s double scored Span from first, and then two outs later, Ian Desmond scorched a Kyle Kendrick (7-11) curveball to left. The Phillies tied the score in the bottom half of the inning when Jimmy Rollins hit his 17th home run of the season, and then a Ryan Howard single to center got past Span to score Chase Utley from second.
The Nats regained the lead in the third when Jason Werth’s single scored Span who led off the inning with a double. The hit was Span’s second of the game, giving him 50 multi-hit games on the season. Span then collected his third hit of the game, a home run to the right field second deck in the fifth inning.
The Phillies took a 5-3 lead with three in the sixth, the first on an RBI double by Dominic Brown and then two more on a pinch hit home run by Grady Sizemore. After hitting Ben Revere with an up and in fastball, Fister’s night was done.
Fister finished his night by allowing five runs, four earned, on 10 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. It was the second straight outing where Fister has allowed four earned runs, bringing his ERA up to 2.55.
Kendrick tossed six innings, allowing four earned on seven hits and a walk while striking out four.
Byrd made it 7-4 with a two-run home run in the seventh off of Ross Detwiler. Howard drove in the Phils eighth run on a bases loaded single in the eighth. Craig Stammen relieved Detwiler, getting two big outs without a run.
Ken Giles closed out the ninth for the Phils.
Span finished the night 3-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. Desmond went 3-for-4 and recording his 17th stolen base and 80th RBI.
With the Braves beating the Mets earlier in the evening, the Nats now lead the East by 6 ½ games. The Nats travel next to Seattle for a three-game series starting Friday. Jordan Zimmermann (9-5) faces off against Felix Hernandez (13-4).