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Phillies 5-4 Over Nationals: Nats' 7-Game Win Streak Snapped

The Washington Nationals knew before today's game started that they would have to win to remain within 4.5 games of the Cincinnati Reds in the race for the second Wild Card spot, but they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Philadelphia Phillies that ended their seven-game win streak.

Patrick McDermott

The Washington Nationals wore their bright red home jerseys Saturday night in Nationals Park. White pants with red, navy blue-brimmed caps. Gio Gonzalez took the mound with a streak of nine scoreless innings on the mound going after his complete game one-hitter last time out against the New York Mets in Citi Field. The Nats' starter had a streak of three straight wins going too and the Nationals as a team were looking for their eighth straight curly-W.

Gonzalez's 15-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first sent Philadelphia Philies' lefty Cole Hamels out to the hill and brought Denard Span to the plate. Two pitches into the bottom of the inning, Span had a 25-game hit streak going after extending his career-best stretch with a line drive to center that fell in for a single. Span stole his 14th base of the year with Ryan Zimmerman up and took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sac fly to center by Jayson Werth. 1-0 Nationals after one.

Cody Asche took a two-out walk in the top of the second to give the Phillies their first base runner of the night in the nation's capital, and he took third on a bloop single to center by Freddy Galvis before he and Galvis were stranded on the basepaths by a groundout to third from John Mayberry. Gio Gonzalez's 19-pitch inning had him up to 34 overall after one and half in the second game of the three-game weekend set.

Anthony Rendon walked more than he K'd in college (176 BB/78 Ks, .502 OBP in 187 games at Rice) before the Nationals made him the 6th pick in the 1st Round of the 2011 Draft. The 23-year-old infielder took his 29th walk in 357 plate appearances this season with one down in the Nationals' second, and moved up on a sac bunt by Gio Gonzalez, but 29-year-old Phillies' 1st Round pick Cole Hamels ('02) stranded Rendon there when he got Denard Span to ground out to end the bottom of the second inning. Still 2-1 Washington.

Cesar Hernandez singled with one down in the Phillies' third, but he was doubled up on a Jimmy Rollins' grounder to second that started an inning-ending 4-6-3. Seven-pitch inning for Gio Gonzalez, 41 total after three. Jayson Werth took a walk from his former teammate with one down in the bottom of the third. Ian Desmond took a 1-0 fastball from Cole Hamels through short for a single. Hamels' second wild pitch of the game moved both runners up, but Desmond was hung out to dry on a grounder to short by Bryce Harper when he broke for third only to find Werth hadn't gone for home. Two down. Wilson Ramos K'd swinging in the next AB. Wasted opportunity.

Carlos Ruiz doubled to left with one down in the top of the fourth, but two quick outs later the Phillies were 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and Gio Gonzalez was up to thirteen straight scoreless and 56 pitches overall after a 15-pitch inning against Philadelphia. Cole Hamels needed just eight pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the bottom of the fourth. With one down in the top of the fifth, John Mayberry took a 1-0 fastball from Gonzalez to left for a game-tying solo home run. 1-1. Two singles and a two-out walk to Chase Utley followed and Carlos Ruiz's second double of the game cleared the bases to make it 4-1 Philadelphia after four and a half. 21-pitch inning for Gonzalez, 77 total.

Denard Span was 2 for 3 tonight after his second single to center in the first at bat of the Nats' fifth. Span stole his 15th base with Ryan Zimmerman up. After Zimmerman grounded out unproductively, Span stole third (16 SB) as Jayson Werth struck out, but was stranded there when Ian Desmond K'd swinging at a 2-2 fastball outside from Cole Hamels. 4-1 Phillies after five.

Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry hit back-to-back one-out singles off Gio Gonzalez in the top of the sixth. Hamels bunted both runners over/gave up the second out of the inning, but Cesar Hernandez took a backdoor 1-2 bender for a called strike three on Gonzalez's 21st pitch of the sixth and his 98th pitch of the game. Still 4-1 Phillies, however. Wilson Ramos hit an opposite field single to right with one down in the Nats' sixth, but Cole Hamels struck Tyler Moore out and popped Anthony Rendon up to end the sixth inning with Philadelphia's three-run lead in tact.

Jimmy Rollins doubled to left to start the seventh against Ian Krol and a wild pitch moved him to third. Chase Utley's bloop single to center brought Rollins in and knocked Krol out with the score 5-1 Phillies over the Nats. Erik Davis took over for Krol and gave up a two-out ground-rule double by Cody Asche, but Utley was held up at third when it left the field of play, so he didn't score and Davis got a lineout to first from Freddy Galvis to end the the inning. 5-1 Phillies.

Scott Hairston improved to 15 for 38 career vs Hamels with a pinch hit single in the Nationals' seventh. Denard Span singled to right in the next at bat, connecting for his third hit of the game. Ryan Zimmerman hit the third straight single, loading the bases with no one out and ending Hamels' night. Justin De Fratus took over with Jayson Werth due up. Werth hit a high chopper to third, allowing Cody Asche to throw home for a force. Ian Desmond stepped in 11 for 26 in his career with the bases loaded and one out and settled for a sac fly on a long fly ball to center that brought Span in, 5-2. Phillies' lefty Cesar Jimenez came on to face Bryce Harper, lefty vs lefty. Jimenez broke Harper's bat with an 0-1 fastball, but the Nats' slugger powered it out to center where it fell in for a hit. Two runs scored when Cesar Hernandez misplayed it and Harper took second as the Nats got within one, 5-4. B.J. Rosenberg took over vs Wilson Ramos, and Harper ran when Carlos Ruiz caught him of second and made it to third without a throw. Ramos took a 1-2 curve for what looked like ball two, but home plate umpire Jim Joyce called it a strike and the Nats' catcher K'd looking with the tying run on third.

Tyler Clippard retired the Phillies in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the eighth. B.J. Rosenberg came back out in the eighth to face pinch hitter Chad Tracy and walked the Nats' leadoff man. Pinch runner Jeff Kobernus took over at first base. Anthony Rendon bunted the runner over/gave up an out. Steve Lombardozzi stepped in with the tying run on second base and flew out to left field. Jake Diekman came on against Denard Span, lefty vs lefty. A grounder back to the mound ended the eighth.

Xavier Cedeno gave up a single through short by Jimmy Rollins in the first at bat of the ninth, but after he popped Chase Utley up, Ryan Mattheus came on and got a double play grounder out of Carlos Ruiz. 5-4-3 on to the Nats' ninth. Jonathan Papelbon took over for Philadelphia. Ryan Zimmerman... ripped a leadoff double to left on a 2-1 slider. Jayson Werth flew out to left on the first pitch he got. Ian Desmond popped out to right. Phillies' skipper Ryne Sandberg had Jonathan Papelbon walk Bryce Harper, bringing Wilson Ramos to the plate. Ramos grounded sharply to short, but Jimmy Rollins handled it. Ballgame.

Nationals now 78-70