Manager Davey Johnson told reporters today he hoped John Lannan's past struggles in Citizens Bank Park, where the left-hander was (2-5) with 6.05 ERA in nine starts in his career before signing on to pitch here, continued tonight when Lannan took the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time against the team that drafted him out of Siena College in the 12th Round of the '05 MLB Draft. The Nationals developed Lannan, brought him to the majors, then, after six seasons, allowed him to become a free agent after a contentious 2012 campaign in which they payed him $5M dollars to serve as what the Nats' skipper described as a "very luxurious insurance policy" late last Spring, when the Nationals announced the decision to send the veteran lefty to Triple-A Syracuse so they could keep option-less '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler in the starting rotation.
Lannan was coming off the DL to make the start against the visiting Nats tonight. He wasn't sharp early.
Lannan walked Anthony Rendon with down in the game-opening frame, then hit Ryan Zimmerman on the front foot and gave up an RBI line drive single to left by Jayson Werth that made it 1-0 Nationals after a half inning in CBP which ended when Lannan got a 6-4-3 DP from Ian Desmond. 19-pitch inning. Nats' right-hander Dan Haren started his 14th start of the season for Washington with a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning in Philadelphia.
Kurt Suzuki hit a 2-2 two-seamer outside to right for a one-out opposite field single off Lannan in the top of the second. Steve Lombardozzi lined a 2-2 change to left for the second consecutive single off the Phillies' left-hander, but Lannan cut down the lead runner when Dan Haren tried to get a little too cute with a slug bunt attempt the opposing pitcher jumped on. The 1-5 putout was followed by swinging K by Jeff Kobernus as the former Nats' starter once again worked out of trouble. Seven pitches into the Phillies' half second it was a 1-1 game after Ryan Howard crushed a 2-2 cutter from Haren and hit the 18th home run of the year off the Nationals' right-hander into the second deck in right in Citizens Bank Park. Howard's eighth. 1-1 after two. 27-pitch inning for Haren.
Ryan Zimmerman caught a pop in front of the third base dugout and negotiated the steps as he went down into the Nationals' dugout with the third out of the inning in his glove. Zimmerman got his helmet, batting gloves and bat and then went out and singled to center with one down in the top of the third, lining one back to the mound, by John Lannan and into center field in Citizens Bank Park. Jayson Werth K'd swinging at a full-count change for out no.2 of the inning. Ian Desmond's fly to center ended the Nats' third with Lannan at 61 pitches overall.
Denard Span sat tonight after fouling a pitch off his foot in Sunday's loss in Cleveland. His replacement, IF/OF Jeff Kobernus, made a sprinting and leaping attempt to catch a fly to deep center field off Michael Young's bat, but the Nats' center field came up empty and Young took third when the ball hit the wall just out of Kobernus' reach. Back-to-back walks to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard loaded the bases for Domonic Brown. Dan Haren got Brown swinging for the second out of the inning, but a Delmon Young double to right and by a diving Jayson Werth brought in two runs before Ryan Howard got thrown out at third to end the inning. 3-1 Phillies.
Nationals' catcher Kurt Suzuki was 2 for 2 tonight after doubling to left-center off John Lannan with one down in the fourth. Steve Lombardozzi's double in the next at bat brought the Nats' catcher around as the Nationals reduced to the Phillies' lead to 3-2 with one down. Lombardozzi stole third with two outs after Dan Haren lined out, but Jeff Kobernus K'd swinging to end the top of the inning with the Phillies still up by one. 77 pitches for Lannan. With some help from his defense, Dan Haren retired the side in order in a 15-pitch bottom of the fourth in Philadelphia, after which he was at 79 pitches. John Lannan threw a 1-2-3 top of the fifth that had him up to 92.
Ben Revere singled to right field on Dan Haren's 81st pitch of the night, then stole second safely with Michael Young at the plate. Haren got one no.1 of the fifth when Chris Marrero picked a low throw to first by Ian Desmond out of the dirt after a grounder to short off Young's bat. A pop to Desmond in short center by Jimmy Rollins made it two outs in the Phillies' fifth, but an RBI single to right by Ryan Howard brought Revere in from second to make it 4-2 Philadelphia. A walk to Domonic Brown pushed Haren up to 98 pitches, and he was at 101 even when Delmon Young grounded into a force at second on the 22nd pitch of the home-half of the fifth.
Michael Stutes took over for John Lannan in the top of the sixth and threw a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth after which eight Nationals in a row had been set down following Steve Lombardozzi's one-out double in the fourth. Dan Haren came back out for the sixth with 101 pitches on his arm and retired the Phillies in order in a 14-pitch frame that had him up to 115 when he was done for the night. Michael Stutes' second 1-2-3 inning in relief made it 11-straight Nationals set down. Ian Krol took over for Dan Haren in the bottom of the seventh and threw a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in relief to continue the strong start to the major leaguer's career.
Mike Adams replaced Michael Stutes on the mound in the top of the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 11th double of the year to center field in Citizens Bank. A groundout by Jayson Werth moved Zimmerman to third with two down, and Ian Desmond stared at his lumber, said, "We can do this, bat," stepped in and hit a two-out single to center that got the Nationals within one. Phillies' lefty Antonio Bastardo got a groundout to second from pinch hitter Adam LaRoche and the Phillies took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Tyler Clippard gave up back-to-back singles by Ryan Howard (3 for 3) and Domonic Brown in the home-half of the ninth. Howard left the game for pinch runner Michael Martinez. Clippard got John Mayberry, Jr. swinging for out no.1. Pinch hitter Freddie Galvis popped out for out no.2. Humberto Quintero took a HBP on the hands to load the bases, but Laynce Nix K'd swinging on Tyler Clippard's 28th pitch.
Jonathan Papelbon popped Kurt Suzuki up to center for out no.1 in the 9th. Steve Lombardozzi flew to center for out no.2. Chad Tracy? HR TO RIGHT!! TIE GAME!!! 4-4 after Tracy battles with two strikes and hits one out to right! First blown save of the year for Paplebon. 4-4 after eight and a half. Fernando Abad took over for the Nats in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single Ben Revere. Michael Young flew to center for out no.1, but Jimmy Rollins singled to left to send the runner around to third with one down. Pinch hitter Steven Lerud went down swinging at a high fastball for out no.2. Domonic Brown? Walk-off single to center. Ballgame.
Nationals now 34-35