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Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals: Game Report..."Game 5 of the Nationals' Collin Balester Era."


A weak line drive to Ronnie Belliard at second from Phillies' leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, and DC righty Collin Balester has his first out of the evening. 94 mph fastball to Shane Victorino, followed by an 86 mph curve in the dirt for strike two. Balester wastes a 94mph heater upstairs, Victorino fouls off a fastball outside, but then can’t check his swing on a curve that falls out of mid-air for a swinging K. Chase Utley flies out to Kearns in right, and Balester holds Philly off the scoreboard in the first....Philly right-hander Brett Myers gets a groundout from Willie Harris to start the Nationals’ first. Belliard lines the first pitch out to Geoff Jenkins in right. Ryan Zimmerman holds off a two-strike fastball that’s called a high strike three, ending the first. 


Balester starts Ryan Howard with 93 mph heat, and eventually gets him swinging with an 80 mph curve high in the zone. Pat Burrell drills a single by Zimmerman at third. Ronnie Belliard drops a toss from Felipe Lopez on a DP grounder from Geoff Jenkins, leaving both runners safe. Balester gets a pop fly from Gregg Dobbs foul of first, “Don’t Worry, Lo Duca’s got it!” Philly catcher Chris Coste flies out to left to let Balester out of an early jam...Myers pounds Austin Kearns in on the fists inducing a pop out to second. A low 0-1 fastball gets a groundout from Jesus Flores. Lastings Milledge pops out to the infield. No score after two. 


Brett Myers grounds out to second. The second time around, Jimmy Rollins slices a fastball to left for a hard-earned single. Victorino flies out to center. Chase...Utley! takes a 1-0 fastball deeeep to right and GONE! 2-0 Phils on a two-out HR for Chase...Utley! Balester walks Ryan Howard to bring up Burrell. Balester gets up 0-2, and let’s the count go full before striking out Burrell to end the Phillies’ third...Brett Myers “hits” Paul Lo Duca, who leads off the DC third. Felipe Lopez grounds to first, Ryan Howard tags the bags and catches Lo Duca in a rundown and eventual DP. Collin Balester rips a two-out line drive over the infield for a single. Myers jams Willie Harris, who pops up to end the third...


Geoff Jenkins grounds the first pitch to first, “Don’t Worry, Lo Duca’s got it!” Gregg Dobbs lines out to Willie Harris in center. Zimmerman eats up a high-hopper to third and throws out Chris Coste to end the top of the fourth...Brett Myers hits Belliard in the back to start the DC fourth. Zimmerman hacks down on a fastball and grounds into a tailor-made DP. Kearns grounds out to short...Balester gets the opposing pitcher looking to start the fifth. Jimmy Rollins pushes Kearns back to the track with a long fly out to right. Shane Victorino gets a single under Belliard’s glove and into right. Victorino tries to steal on Flores, and gets thrown out to end the inning...DC fifth, Jesus Flores singles up the middle to start the frame. Lastings Milledge pops the first pitch out to Utley. Lo Duca flies out to center. Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins fields Felipe Lopez’s grounder on the first base side of second and throws Lopez out to end the fifth. 2-0 Phillies. 


Chase Utley hits a 330ft fly ball to right, but the wall is at 335ft, so Kearns has the first out of the inning. Ryan Howard backs Willie Harris up to the track in left. Pat Burrell smacks a high outside fastball up the middle for a two-out single. Balester gets Geoff Jenkins swinging to end the Philly sixth...Kory Casto hits for Balester to start the sixth and lines out to Burrell in left. Myers gets Willie Harris swinging over a two-strike curve. Ryan Howard fields Belliard’s grounder and steps on first to end the sixth...Garrett Mock replaces Balester on the mound for the seventh. Mock drops a two-strike curve under Gregg Dobbs’ bat. Chris Coste flies to Kearns down the line in right. Mock vs Myers. Mock throws a fastball by the opposing pitcher to end the top of the inning, Stand up and stretch...Zimmerman walks to start the DC seventh. Austin Kearns lines an 0-2 pitch out to right. Jesus Flores flies out unproductively to center. Lastings Milledge’s hard grounder eats up Eric Bruntlett at third, for an infield sing...but Zimmerman overruns second and gets thrown out to end the seventh...


DC lefty Charlie Manning turns Jimmy Rollins around to bat from the right. Felipe Lopez fields and fires to first just in time to get Rollins. Willie Harris jumps at and almost through the wall to catch a fly ball from Victorino. Chase...Utley! throws his bat at a curve from Manning and bends it inside the bag for a two-out single to bring up Ryan Howard. Manning vs Howard. Lefty vs Lefty. Manning gets a fly out on a full count pitch to Howard to end the top of the eighth...Paul Lo Duca lines an 0-2 pitch back up the middle for a leadoff single in the DC eighth. Guzman’s on to run for PLoD. Chase Utley boots a ground ball to his backhand that would’ve been a double play from Felipe Lopez, instead there’s two on, and Myers is done. JC Romero’s on in relief. Langerhans’ sac fly moves both runners up with Willie Harris at bat, and Thrillie Harris grounds out, scoring Guzman, and Lopez takes third. 2-1 Phillies. Romero’s out, Chad Durbin in. Ronnie Belliard up, and he grounds out to end the eighth. 


“Wild” Joel Hanrahan gets Pat Burrell to chase a two-strike slider out of the zone. Hanrahan gets Geoff Jenkins chasing cheese. Eric Bruntlett’s waiting for the slider and pushes it to left for a two-out single. Chris Coste grounds to Belliard at first, 2-1 Phillies after eight and a half...Philly closer Brad Lidge will face Zimmerman, Kearns and Flores. Zimmerman grounds out to third. Austin Kearns works the count full and pops out foul of first. WWJD? Jesus Flores flies out to right. Phillies win. 2-1 final.


Nationals now 38-68. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stands At...32.)