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Phillies 3-1 in D.C. for fifth straight win over Nationals: A.J. Burnett dominates Nats

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With the 3-1 win in Nationals Park today, the Philadelphia Phillies won the season series with the Washington Nationals and won their fifth straight decision against the NL East-leading Nats. A.J. Burnett handled the Nationals today in D.C.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

You can't lose five in-a-row to the Phillies Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Looking for their fifth straight win over the Washington Nationals after last night's 9-8 victory and a three-game sweep last week in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead in the top of the third inning this afternoon in D.C. with Ryan Howard singling to right with the bases loaded for a two-out, two-run hit. 2-0.

Phillies' starter A.J. Burnett threw four scoreless to start the second game of three in Nationals Park, but leadoff and one-out singles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Denard Span, respectively, in the fifth, put runners on first and third with one down so a sac fly to center by Anthony Rendon brought in the Nats' first run, 2-1.

Tanner Roark struck the first two batters out in the Phillies' sixth, but fell behind Domonic Brown 3-0 and gave up a solo home run to right on a two-seam fastball that the outfielder put in the right field bullpen. HR no.9 for Brown, 3-1 Phillies.

That's how it ended, 3-1 Phillies for two-straight in D.C.

4. Row-ark in D.C.: Tanner Roark surrendered 11 hits and four earned rurns in 6 ⅓ IP last time out, in a start against the Mariners in Seattle's Safeco Field, taking his second straight loss.

The outing left the 27-year-old right-hander (4-3) in nine second-half starts with a 2.73 ERA, a 3.79 FIP, 12 walks (1.82 BB/9) and 39 Ks (5.92 K/9) in 59 ⅓ IP over which he's held opposing hitters to a .230/.274/.355 line.

"Today I think he was sharper than last time out, but again, it's a question of one pitch sometimes. He just missed location." -Matt Williams on Tanner Roark vs the Mariners last time out

The eleven hits Roark allowed were the most he's given up in a start in his first two MLB campaigns, but eight of the eleven were singles, with the runs he allowed coming on hits by red-hot '09 no.2 overall pick, Dustin Ackley, who drove in a run with an RBI grounder to center in the third and connected for a three-run home run in the fifth on a 92 mph 2-0 fastball from that missed its intended destination.

"He just missed location on Ackley," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the loss.

"Supposed to go down and away, it was middle in and [Ackley] hit a homer. That's the only really bad pitch he made."

"Today I think he was sharper than last time out," Williams continued, " but again, it's a question of one pitch sometimes. He just missed location."

It was the second straight loss for Roark, who dropped a 3-2 decision to the Philadelphia Phillies in the previous start the Nationals' manager referred too.

In Citizens Bank Park, in his third outing against the Nats' NL East rivals this season, Roark gave up five hits, a walk and two earned runs in six innings of work in the Nationals' 3-2 loss, over which he threw a total of 103 pitches.

That start left the right-hander (1-2) against the Phillies this season with a 5.29 ERA, two walks and 13 Ks in 17 IP in which Philly hitters have put up a .246/.279/.446 line against him and (2-2) overall vs Philadelphia with a 4.74 ERA and .225/.257/.408 line against since he made his major league debut in August 2013.

This afternoon, Roark was taking on Philadelphia in Washington, D.C., where he was (6-5) in 13 starts this season going into the start, with a 2.36 ERA, 3.62 FIP and a .237/.291/.341 line against in 84 IP.

Roark's fourth start against the Phillies this season began with a fly to left.

1st: Ben Revere sent a fly ball into the shadow-covered corner in left where Bryce Harper caught out no.1. Jimmy Rolins sent out no.2 to Ian Desmond at short on an infield pop. Chase Utley's fly to left pushed Bryce Harper back, but ended an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first.

2nd: Ryan Howard walked to start the top of the second. Grady Sizemore lined out to a charging Denard Span, who tried to double Howard up at first with a strong throw in to first. Domonic Brown popped out to third for out no.2. Wil Nieves stepped in with one on and two out and grounded into a force at second to end a 12-pitch frame that left Roark at 20 overall after two.

3rd: Cody Asche lined out to right to start the Phillies' third, but A.J. Burnett singled to right with one down for the first hit off Roark. Ben Revere lined weakly to third for out no.2. Jimmy Rollins singled through the right side to put two on for Chase Utley, whose single to center loaded the bases with two down. Ryan Howard's single to right drove two runs in to make it 2-0. Grady Sizemore stepped in next and K'd looking at a full-count fastball inside to end a nine-pitch at bat and a 28-pitch inning by Roark, who was up to 48 overall.

4th: Domonic Brown grounded out to short and Wil Nieves K'd swinging for the first two outs of the Phillies' fourth, but Cody Asche singled to right with two down to clear the pitcher's spot. Burnett's backwards K ended a 16-pitch frame that left Roark at 64 pitches.

5th: Ben Revere sent a weak grounder to short for out no.1. Jimmy Rollins K'd looking at an 0-2 fastball. An 0-2 slider inside to Chase Utley finished off the Phillies in the fifth. 11-pitch inning, 75 total.

6th: A 91 mph 2-2 fastball got Ryan Howard swinging. Grady Sizemore took an 0-2 fastball for a called strike three. Domonic Brown stepped in with two down and crushed a 3-0 two-seamer, sending a solo home run into the right field bullpen for a solo blast and a 3-1 lead. An 0-2 slider to Wil Nieves ended the inning after 15 pitches. 90 pitches total for Roark.

Tanner Roark's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 59 S, 3/1 GO/FO.

3. Burnett vs the Nationals: Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett faced the Washington Nationals five times this season before this afternoon's outing.

Last time out in D.C., the 37-year-old, 16-year veteran was tossed after just 1 ⅔ innings in which he and home plate ump Chris Guccione failed to see eye-to-eye on the strike zone.

"Curveball for strikes tonight. We want to be patient, but he didn't allow us to. He threw the fastball in the zone and threw his curveball for strikes..." -Matt Williams on Burnett vs the Nats in CBP

Before he was done for the night in that start, Burnett surrendered three hits, two walks and five runs, one earned.

He bounced back in his fifth start against the Nationals, however, giving up just one earned run on three hits in seven innings of work in Citizens Bank Park last week, striking out 12 Nats' hitters in what ended up a 3-2 win.

"Good curveball," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after watching Burnett dominate his hitters. "Curveball for strikes tonight. We want to be patient, but he didn't allow us to. He threw the fastball in the zone and threw his curveball for strikes too. So, he can be really good if he does that. He was good tonight."

He followed that start up with a less-than-impressive outing against the Mets on the road in New York though, giving up nine hits and five earned runs in six innings and taking his seventh loss in nine second-half starts, over which he's (1-7) with the Phillies 1-8.

In 52 ⅓ IP in the second half of his first season with the Phillies, Burnett has put up a 5.85 ERA, a 4.18 FIP and a .277/.359/.450 line against.

After five starts against the Nationals in 2014, Burnett was (11-5) in 22 appearances, 21 of them starts against the Expos/Nationals franchise heading into today's outing, with a 3.29 ERA, 44 walks (2.78 BB/9) and 139 Ks (8.80 K/9) in 142 ⅓ IP over which Expos/Nats' hitters have put up a .237/.303/.359 line against him.

Burnett's sixth start of the season against the Nationals began with a scoreless, 17-pitch first in which he worked around a one-out single by Anthony Rendon and a two-out walk to Adam LaRoche.

Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera went down in order in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 second that left Burnett at 27 pitches.

Denard Span reached on an infield single with one down in the home-half of the third but was caught stealing when he slid feet-first into second and came of the base. Anthony Rendon walked with two down but was stranded when Jayson Werth sent out no.3 to center to end a 17-pitch third that left Burnett at 44 pitches.

Bryce Harper singled to center with two down, taking a 1-2 sinker back through the middle, but Wilson Ramos' groundout to short ended Burnett's fourth scoreless frame after 18 pitches, 62 overall.

Asdrubal Cabrera lined a 3-2 sinker to right for a leadoff single in the Nats' fifth, then moved up to second on a bunt by Tanner Roark. Burnett tried to barehand a chopper to the mound off Denard Span's bat, but came up empty. Cabrera took third on Span's infield single and scored on a sac fly to center by Anthony Rendon. 2-1 Philly. Span tagged and took second on the Rendon fly ball, then moved up on an infield single by Jayson Werth, but both runners were stranded at the end of a 21-pitch inning that left Burnett at 83 pitches.

A seven-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth left Burnett at 90 pitches overall. A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left him at 99 pitches.

A.J. Burnett's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 99 P, 64 S, 8/3 GO/FO.

2. Can Nats avoid losing season series vs PHI: Last night's frustrating extra innings loss to the Phillies left the Nationals 8-9 against their NL East rivals from Philadelphia with two games to play in the season series.

The 9-8 loss gave the Phillies four-straight wins over the Nats going back to the three-game sweep in Citizens Bank Park last week and wins in six of the last eight games between the two teams.

In order to give themselves a shot at winning the season series, after taking 11 of 19 from the Phillies in 2013, the Nats needed to win two straight this weekend.

The 3-1 win today in D.C. gave the Phillies five straight, 7 of 9 and a 10-8 edge and the season series with the Nationals with one game left.

1. The Wrap-Up: Ross Detwiler took over for Roark in the top of the seventh and struck out the side, all swinging in a 15-pitch frame.

Jerry Blevins retired the Phillies in order in a seven-pitch eighth.

Ken Giles retired the Nationals in order in the eighth.

Blevins came back out for another inning of work and another scoreless frame.

Jonathan Papelbon came on for the save opportunity and gave up a leadoff single by Ian Desmond. Bryce Harper fell behind 0-2 to the Phillies' closer and K'd swinging at a 93 mph fastball outside. Wilson Ramos grounded into a game-ending 6-4-3. 3-1 Phillies.

Nationals now 79-61