Starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings
and a shaky Phillies bullpen did its job, as the home squad pulled
out a 1-0 victory to keep pace in a tight National League East.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins' one-out triple in the bottom of the first
was followed up by Chase Utley's single, the 15th RBI of the season
for the team's longtime second baseman. That was the only run that
would end up crossing the plate, but it was enough to give the
Phillies a key series win over a division rival.
"Got some versatile guys at the top of the order, we've got some
choices there with (Tony Gwynn, Jr.) and (Ben) Revere and Jimmy and
Chase," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "They've been getting a
good job of getting on base, that gives us chances to score and to
score early like we did and take the lead, that can set the tone for
Combined with a loss by the Braves earlier in the day, a Nationals
win would have lifted the team into first place in a division that
was separated by 2.5 games coming into play on Sunday. Instead, the
Phillies' victory means that just 1.5 games separate the first-place
Braves (17-13) and last-place Phils (15-14), with the Nationals
(17-14), Mets (15-14) and Marlins (16-14) all squashed in between.
It's the only division in baseball where every team is at or above
"It's been an ebb and flow, the season so far, some really good
stretches and some not-so-good stretches," said Nationals manager
Matt Williams, who'd had to deal with injuries to stars like Bryce
Harper and Ryan Zimmermann already this season. "Considering what's
happened to us and where we're at, we're okay. We've got to keep
battling, though, certainly a tough home stand and a tough road trip
coming up, so we've got to play well."
When Nationals center fielder Denard Span singled to lead off the
eighth inning, it was the first hit for either team since a one-out
triple by Phillies center fielder Ben Revere in the third. Both the
Phillies and the Nationals managed just a walk apiece from the
fourth through seventh innings.
Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez (2-1) was lifted with one out in
the eighth and Span sitting on second base, but his bullpen would
bail him out. Relievers Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo got an out
each to get out of that inning, while Jonathan Papelbon pitched a
scoreless ninth inning for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
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Hernandez, filling in for a sick Cole Hamels, walked two batters in
the first inning but then settled down. His sixth career start as a
Phillie was his best one yet, as he finished without allowing a run
for the first time all year, striking out and walking three apiece
to lower his ERA to 4.50.
"No big deal," Hernandez said about finding out the day before that
he would be starting. "I was ready for whatever I had to do."
Washington benefited from a strong performance from starter Gio
Gonzalez (3-2) as well. The former Phillies prospect also threw 7
1/3 innings, giving up just the one earned run with two walks and
seven strikeouts, as his ERA fell to 2.91.
"It was just a good pitcher's duel," Gonzalez said. "It happens,
it's baseball, can't do nothing about it. There'll be nights where
these guys will give me seven, eight runs. Still proud of them, they
still gave me a chance to go out there and continue to pitch."
NOTES: Phillies RHP Roberto Hernandez made the start in place of
Cole Hamels, who was scratched the night before with the flu. Hamels
will start in Hernandez's slot on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue
Jays. ... Phillies 2B Chase Utley extended his streak of reaching
base to a season-high 12 games in a row with his first-inning
single. He also reached base the first 11 games of the season. ...
Phillies CF Ben Revere and SS Jimmy Rollins each tripled, the first
time this season the team has had multiple three-base hits in the
same game. The last time it occurred was Sep. 16, 2013, when Cliff
Lee and Roger Bernadina each tripled. ... Nationals 2B Anthony
Rendon entered the game with the third-best average in the NL
against left-handers (.481) before striking out looking against
Phillies LHP Antonio Bastardo to end the eighth.
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