You can't lose four in-a-row to the Phillies Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Wednesday's offensive hero, Adam LaRoche, brought the hot bat back from Los Angeles with him. Washington's 34-year-old first baseman hit a game-tying two-run home run in a pinch hit appearance in the ninth in Dodger Stadium in the series finale in L.A. and hit a two-run blast out to right field in his first AB in D.C. tonight on a 1-1 change from Philadelphia Phillies' starter Jerome Williams that sailed out to right, over the out-of-town scoreboard for a two-run blast and a 2-0 lead after one. No.21 for LaRoche.
Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 5, 2014
Ian Desmond singled with one down in the bottom of the fourth and took third on a single by Bryce Harper in the next at bat when Phillies' right fielder Marlon Byrd misplayed the ball off Harper's bat. A sac fly to right from Wilson Ramos followed and the Nats took a 3-0 lead into the fifth after Desmond tagged and scored.
Stephen Strasburg and Denard Span singled in back-to-back at bats in the bottom of the fifth and both runners scored when Anthony Rendon hit his 36th double of the season to the right-center gap on an 0-1 sinker from Williams. 5-0 Nationals.
The Phillies finally scored a run on Stephen Strasburg in the top of the sixth with pinch hitter Cesar Hernandez singling to center and scoring on an RBI double to left by Ben Revere. 5-1 Nationals.
Ryan Howard jacked a 2-2 curve from Nats' lefty Xavier Cedeno, sending home run no.21 of 2014 into the second deck in right field. 5-2 Nationals.
Phillies' right-handed reliever Mike Adams gave up a leadoff single by Denard Span, a walk to Anthony Rendon and an RBI ground-rule double to right by Jayson Werth that made it 6-2 Nationals. Rendon tagged and scored on a sac fly to center by Adam LaRoche off Philly lefty Cesar Jimenez and it was 7-2 Nationals after seven.
The Phillies added two runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Chase Utley and an infield single by Ryan Howard, 7-4 Nationals.
Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run home run to left off Rafael Soriano to get the Phillies within one at 7-6, and Ben Revere hit a hanging 2-2 slider out to right to tie it up at 7-7...
In the top of the eleventh, Domonic Brown flew to left-center to start the frame, and Bryce Harper and Denard Span collided and let it fall to the grass. A bunt by Carlos Ruiz moved Brown over to third and he scored ahead of a throw home from Tyler Moore on a Maikel Franco grounder to first. 8-7 Phillies. 9-7 on an RBI single by Ben Revere.
Anthony Rendon walked and took third on an error by Ben Revere on a Jayson Werth single, then scored on an RBI line drive to left by Tyler Moore. 9-8 Phillies. Ian Desmond K'd swinging for out no.2. Bryce Harper lined out to left to end it.
4. Strasburg vs the Phillies: The last time Nationals' '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg faced the Philadelphia Phillies at home in the nation's capital, the 26-year-old Nationals' right-hander threw seven scoreless innings against the Nats' NL East rivals, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out 10 in a 4-0 win.
"Lots of curveballs today," manager Matt Williams said after the game.
"Really good curveballs, early in the count to get strike one and good fastball command as well. Probably the best fastball command I've seen him have all year today. And the ability to throw a breaking ball at any time certainly keeps hitters off-balance. So I think he pitched really well."
In six up-and-down starts in August, Strasburg was (4-1) with the Nationals 5-1 in his starts.
In 38 ⅔ innings pitched, the 6'4'', 230lb starter posted a 3.28 ERA, a 4.21 FIP, eight walks (1.86 BB/9), 43 Ks (10.01 K/9) and a .210/.253/.421 line against.
Strasburg was (2-0) in three starts in Washington in August, with a no-decision in his one rough outing in D.C. which saw him surrender eight hits, two of them home runs, two walks and five earned runs in four innings of work in what ended up a 14-6 win over the San Francisco Giants.
Last time out, Strasburg bounced back from that sub-par outing with one of his best starts of the year, dominating the Seattle Mariners on the road in Safeco Field last weekend and earning his 11th win of the season, (11-10).
"I think this was the best that we've seen him all year," Matt Williams told reporters.
"He was really, really commanding fastball. Fastballs at 96-97 mph and the changeup off of it, throwing the changeup when he wanted to, for a strike too. He was really good tonight."
The Nationals were back in the nation's capital for Strasburg's 30th start of the season tonight.
In 15 starts at home before this evening's outing, Strasburg was (8-2) in D.C. with a 2.66 ERA, a 2.62 FIP, 17 walks (1.56 BB/9) and 120 Ks (11.02 K/9) in 98 IP over which he's held visiting hitters to a combined .234/.274/.359 line.
Strasburg was facing the Phillies for the fifth time this season and the 11th time in his career.
In the previous 10 starts, he was (4-1) with a 2.14 ERA, nine walks and 77 Ks in 63 IP in which Philly hitters have put up a .207/.241/.313 line against him.
Strasburg's 16th start at home this season and his 11th career start vs the Phillies, began with sharp liner to third...
1st: Ben Revere lined out to third to start the Phillies' first. Jimmy Rollins sent a weak roller to second. Chase Utley stepped in with two down, fell behind 0-2 quickly and grounded out to first on a 1-2 change. 15-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
2nd: Ryan Howard rolled over a 1-2 curve and sent a weak grounder to first. Marlon Byrd sent a fly to Jayson Werth in right for out no.2. Domonic Brown's groundout to second ended a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 second, after which Strasburg was up to 28 pitches.
3rd: Carlos Ruiz K'd swinging through a 96 mph 1-2 heater up high. Maikel Franco lined a single to right on a first-pitch fastball for his first MLB hit. Jerome Williams bunted Franco over/gave up an out. Ben Revere stepped in with a runner on and two out and sent a fly ball Bryce Harper in left to end a nine-pitch third that left Strasburg at 37 pitches after three scoreless.
4th: Jimmy Rollins popped up to third to start the fourth. Chase Utley lined a 96 mph 2-2 fastball inside to right for a one-out single. Ryan Howard went down swinging through a 96 mph 1-2 fastball. Utley went too far off first with Marlon Byrd at the plate and was picked off on a snap throw from Wilson Ramos for out no.3. of a 16-pitch fourth, after which Strasburg was up to 53 pitches.
5th: Marlon Byrd chased a 96 mph 0-2 fastball up high. Domonic Brown grounded out to second, off of Stephen Strasburg's glove to Asdrubal Cabrera for out no.2. 1-4-3. Carlos Ruiz battled for 14 pitches before flying out to right. 22-pitch frame. 75 total after five.
6th: Makiel Franco popped to first for the first out of the Phillies' sixth. Pinch hitter Cesar Hernandez singled to center with one down. Ben Revere stepped in with a runner on and doubled to left on a 96 mph 3-2 fastball to get the Phillies on the board. Jimmy Rollins chased a 95 mph 1-2 fastball up high. Chase Utley stepped in with a runner on second and two out and K'd swinging at a 2-2 curve to end a 20-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 95 pitches overall.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 95 P, 67 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
3. Former National Jerome Williams: One-time Nationals' starter Jerome Williams started the 2014 campaign with Houston, but the 1999 San Francisco Giants' 1st Round pick was released by the Astros on July 8th. Williams, 32, caught on with Texas three days later, and lasted less than a month with the Rangers before he was selected off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.
With his third team of the season and the seventh team of his career, Williams went (3-0) with the Phillies 3-1 in his first four starts last month, over which he posted a 2.03 ERA and a .183/.269/.237 line against in 26 ⅔ IP.
Tonight's outing was Williams' fourth against Washington and his third start against the Nationals he pitched for briefly in 2007.
In 14 ⅔ IP against the Nats before tonight in his nine-year career, Williams put up a 3.68 ERA with three walks, eight Ks and a .224/.281/.347 line.
His fifth start with the Phillies, and his second career start in Nationals Park, began with back-to-back singles by Denard Span (who collected his 1,000th MLB hit) and Anthony Rendon, who sent a grounder through the left side of the infield. Span was thrown out at third on an attempted double steal, so Adam LaRoche's home run in the at bat that followed was only a two-run blast. No.21 of 2014 for LaRoche. 2-0 Nationals. 17-pitch first for Williams.
Asdruba Cabrera singled with two down in the second, but he was stranded at the end of a 15-pitch frame by Williams, who was up to 32 pitches after two.
Denard Span walked to start the third, but was doubled up one out later on a grounder to short off Jayson Werth's bat. 15-pitch frame, 47 total for Williams after three in D.C.
Ian Desmond lined a single to left with one down in the Nats' fourth and moved to third on a single to right by Bryce Harper when Marlon Byrd bobbled it. A sac fly to right by Wilson Ramos brought Desmond in to make it 3-0 Nats. 17-pitch frame for Williams, 64 overall after four.
Stephen Strasburg singled to right to start the home-half of the fifth, moved up to second on a single to center by Denard Span and scored on a two-out run opposite field double to right by Anthony Rendon that made it 5-0 Nats. Double no. 36 of 2014 for Rendon. 25-pitch fifth for Williams, 89 total after five.
• Jerome Williams' Line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 89 P, 54 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
2. Phinal Series of 20-Phourteen: Through sixteen games of the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies' nineteen games this season, the National League East division rivals were evenly split at eight wins each after the Nats were swept in the three-game series in Citizens Bank Park last week.
In D.C., the Nationals were 5-2 through the first seven games in the nation's capital in 2014, with three more to play this weekend.
The Nats were looking to win the season series with the Phillies for the second straight year after going 11-8 against Philadelphia last season. The two teams split the 18 games they played in 2012.
With the win tonight, the Nationals took a 9-8 lead with two left to play with Philadelphia.
1. The Wrap-Up: Luis Garcia took over on the mound for the Phillies in the bottom of the sixth and retired the Nationals in order in a 12-pitch frame.
Xavier Cedeno took over for the Nationals in the seventh and gave up a leadoff home run to right by Ryan Howard, who crushed a 2-2 curve. 5-2. Cedeno retired two batters and handed the ball to Drew Storen, who recorded the third out of the inning. 5-2 Nats after six and a ½.
Mike Adams gave up a leadoff single to left by Denard Span in the home-half of the seventh. Span stole his 28th base of the season with Anthony Rendon up...
This is now @thisisdspan's 11th three-hit game of the season -- and 53rd multi-hit game of the year.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 6, 2014
Rendon walked to put two on in front of Jayson Werth, who hit a ground-rule double to right to bring Span around, 6-2 Nats. Cesar Jimenez took over against Adam LaRoche, whose sac fly to center allowed Rendon to tag and score, 7-2 Nats after seven.
Grady Sizemore reached on a one-out error by Anthony Rendon. Aaron Barrett walked the well-nigh unwalkable Ben Revere in the next at bat. Jimmy Rollins grounded into a force at second, but beat the throw to first to avoid the double play. Matt Thornton came on to face Chase Utley, whose pop fly to center fell in for a double when Denard Span couldn't make a sliding catch. 7-3. An infield single by Ryan Howard brought Rollins in, 7-4, but a fly to right off Marlon Byrd's bat ended the frame.
Justin De Fratus threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Pitch it, Soriano! PItch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano!!! Rafael Soriano took the mound in the ninth looking for save no.32 of 2014 and gave up a single to center on a soft fly off Domonic Brown's bat. Carlos Ruiz... home run. 7-6 game. Maikel Franco grounded out to second. Cody Asche K'd swinging for out no.2. Ben Revere... game-tying home run. 7-7 game. Tyler Clippard recorded out no.3.
Ken Giles took the mound in the Nats' ninth and retired the Nationals in order.
Clippard came back for more work in the tenth and retired the Phillies in order.
Jake Diekman walked Ian Desmond to start the bottom of the tenth. Bryce Harper bunted Desmond over/gave up an out, so the Phillies walked Wilson Ramos to get to Asdrubal Cabrera, who sent a fly to left for out no.2. Pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen stepped in next and K'd swinging to end the frame.
Craig Stammen got a fly to left-center from Domonic Brown in the first at bat of the eleventh and Bryce Harper and Denard Span collided and let it drop in. Carlos Ruiz bunted Brown over. Maikel Franco stepped in with the go-ahead run on third and grounded to first to bring Brown in ahead of a throw home by Tyler Moore. 8-7 Phillies. A two-out single by Ben Revere scored Franco to make it 9-7.
Jonathan Papelbon came on to end it and issued a one-out walk to Anthony Rendon. Jayson Werth singled to center, and Ben Revere misplayed the ball, allowing Rendon to take third. Tyler Moore? RBI single. 9-8 game.
Ian Desmond stepped in with two on and one out and K'd swinging for the second out of the inning. Bryce Harper? Line drive to left. Ballgame when Domonic Brown catches it. 9-8 final.
Nationals now 79-60