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Nationals avoid sweep with 3-2 win over Phillies: Adam LaRoche homers twice

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The Washington Nationals dropped the first two games of their three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies, but avoided the sweep with a 3-2 win in the series finale in Nationals Park. Adam LaRoche's two home runs led the Nats to the win.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

You can't lose six in-a-row to the Phillies, right? Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: The Philadelphia Phillies took the season series with Washington with yesterday's win and took the field in the finale of their three-game set in Nationals Park looking to sweep the NL East's first-place Nats for the second straight series after taking all three games between them last week in Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies jumped out to an early lead this afternoon with Grady Sizemore singling off Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez and scoring on a line drive to center by Marlon Byrd when Denard Span's throw in to third bounced by Anthony Rendon, who recovered it and bounced a throw by home. 1-0 Philly.

Adam LaRoche tied things up in the bottom of the second, however, sending a first-pitch cutter from Cole Hamels out to right field for his 22nd HR of the season. 1-1.

Carlos Ruiz reached base and took second on a fly to center that Denard Span lost in the sun, and after a single by Marlon Byrd moved the Phillies' catcher to third, Ruiz scored on a sac fly by Darin Ruf. 2-1 Philadelphia.

Adam LaRoche tied it back up in the bottom of the inning though, taking a 1-1 fastball to right and into the seats above the out-of-town scoreboard. 2-2 game after LaRoche's 23rd.

Ian Desmond tore into a first-pitch change from Cole Hamels for a one-out double in the Nationals' sixth, then took third on a balk by the Phillies' lefty before scoring on a sac fly to left by Scott Hairston, who just missed a two-run home run. 3-2 Nationals.

That's how it ended. Nats avoid the sweep, 3-2 final in D.C.

4. Gonzalez vs the Phillies: Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez won his first start since July 5th last time out, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers with six innings of work on the mound in a 6-4 win in which he gave up three hits, two walks and a total of three earned runs.

Gonzalez improved to (7-9) on the season with the win, which left him (1-4) in nine second-half outings, over which he'd put up a 4.44 ERA and .258/.330/.376 line against in 48 ⅔ IP.

"The first inning home run to [Matt] Kemp was the only one. Gave up a couple of hits in his last inning, but pitch count was down, he was doing fine..." -Matt Williams on Gio Gonzalez in L.A.

Two of the three runs Gonzalez allowed in L.A. came on a two-out, two-run home run by Matt Kemp in the first, but he retired 16 of the next 17 batters he faced before back-to-back singles by Kemp and Dodgers' outfielder Scott Van Slyke ended his outing after just 74 pitches.

"Gio was good," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the game.

"The first inning home run to Kemp was the only one. Gave up a couple of hits in his last inning, but pitch count was down, he was doing fine, and he gave up the two hits in his last inning we had to go get him."

Before the start against the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, Gonzalez faced Philadelphia for the third time this season, giving up six hits, two home runs and three runs total in six innings on the hill in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park in which he received no decision.

"Couple of mistakes that they hit over the fence," Williams said.

"Couple of mistakes that they hit over the fence. Other than that his pitch count was low. He was competitive. He threw all of his pitches for strikes..." -Matt Williams on Gio Gonzalez vs PHI in CBP

"Other than that his pitch count was low. He was competitive. He threw all of his pitches for strikes. Got out of an inning with a double play ball, which was good. He kept us in it."

That outing was Gonzalez's third against the Phillies this season, against whom he was (0-2) with a 4.76 ERA, four walks (2.12 BB/9) and 13 Ks (6.88 K/9) in 17 IP in which Philly hitters put up a combined .277/.319/.477 line against him.

In eleven starts against Philadelphia in his career before today, the lefty was (5-4) with a 3.19 ERA, 22 walks (2.93 BB/9) and 69 Ks (9.18 K/9) in 67 ⅔ IP in which he held Phillies' hitters to a .230/.296/.369 line.

This time around, Gonzalez was facing the Phillies in Nationals Park, where he was (6-5) in 14 starts this season with a 3.56 ERA, a 2.53 FIP, 23 walks (3.51 BB/9) and 60 Ks (9.15 K/9) in 59 IP in which he held visiting hitters to a .247/.323/.314 line.

Gonzalez' fifteenth start of the year in Nats Park began with a groundout to short...

1st: Jimmy Rollins sent a grounder Ian Desmond's way for the first out of this afternoon's game. Grady Sizemore sent a soft liner back up the middle for a one-out single. A fly to right by Carlos Ruiz gave Gonzalez two outs, but Marlon Byrd singled to center and Denard Span's throw in to third skipped by Anthony Rendon allowing Sizemore to score, 1-0. There was a long conversation about whether Byrd should score too after Rendon's throw home bounced into the first base dugout. After a review, Byrd was kept at third, since he "had not" passed second when the throwing error by Rendon occurred. Darin Ruf's fly to center ended a 20-pitch frame.

2nd: Maikel Franco sent a fly to left-center for the first out of the second. Freddy Galvis grounded weakly to short for out no.2. Tony Gwynn, Jr. fell behind 0-2 quickly and lined out to third to end a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 second that left Gonzalez at 32 pitches total after two.

3rd: Cole Hamels K'd looking for the first out of the Phillies' third. Jimmy Rollins grounded out to second for out no.2. Grady Sizemore's fly to center made it seven straight outs. 12-pitch frame, 44 total after three.

4th: Carlos Ruiz reached safely and took second on a fly to center that Denard Span lost in the sun. The Phillies' catcher took third on a single to left by Marlon Byrd in the next at bat. Ruiz scored on a sac fly to right by Darin Ruf. 2-1 Phillies. Maikel Franco sent out no.2 to Jayson Werth in right. Freddy Galvis stepped in with two outs and a runner on third and popped up to the infield to end a 20-pitch frame that left Gonzalez at 64 total.

5th: Tony Gwynn, Jr. sent a fly to right-center, where Jayson Werth made a diving catch for the first out of the frame. Cole Hamels K'd swinging for out no.2. Jimmy Rollins' groundout to third ended a 19-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that left Hamels at 83 pitches overall.

6th: Grady Sizemore K'd swinging at a 2-2 change to end a nine-pitch at bat. Carlos Ruiz lined out to center for out no.2. Marlon Byrd stepped in with two out and grounded out to short to end a 15-pitch frame by Gonzalez, who was up to 98 pitches overall with nine straight batters retired.

7th: Darin Ruf singled to left to start the Phillies' seventh and end Gio Gonzalez's outing...

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 105 P, 67 S, 5/6 GO/FO.

3. Hamels in D.C.: Cole Hamels was winless in three 2014 starts against the Washington Nationals, (0-1), heading into the series finale in the nation's capital this afternoon, with a 2.57 ERA, five walks (2.14 BB/9) and 16 Ks (6.86 K/9) in 21 IP in which the 30-year-old lefty held Nats' hitters to a combined .205/.253/.308 line.

In 31 career starts against the Nationals before today, the '02 Phillies' 1st Round pick was (15-7) with a 2.58 ERA, 52 walks (2.28 BB/9) and 206 Ks (9.01 K/9) in 205 ⅔ IP over which Nats' hitters have put up a .220/.275/.338 line against him.

In the nation's capital in his career, he was (4-3) in nine starts with a 2.23 ERA and a .221/.278/.315 line against.

In nine second-half starts before this afternoon's, Hamels was (5-1) with the Phillies 7-2 when he toed the rubber.

Since the All-Star Break, he'd posted a 1.74 ERA in 62 IP over which he  walked 14 (2.03 BB/9), struck out 59 (8.56 K/9) and held opposing hitters to a .226/.283/.301 line.

On the road this season, Hamels was (5-4) in 13 starts with a 1.62 ERA, a 2.54 FIP and a .214/.287/.305 line against in 80 ⅔ IP.

Hamels' 14th start away from Citizens Bank Park began with a quick, 18-pitch, 1-2-3 first after he was given a 1-0 lead to work with before he took the mound.

The first pitch from Hamels in the second ended up leaving the yard though, as Adam LaRoche connected for his 22nd home run on the year on a cutter. Ian Desmond "doubled" to center in the next at bat when Tony Gwynn, Jr. lost a fly ball in the sun, but Desmond was stranded at third three outs later and Hamels was out of the inning after ten pitches at 28 overall.

Anthony Rendon lined a two-out single to center in the Nats' third, but he was stranded when Jayson Werth K'd swinging to end an 18-pitch third by Hamels, who was up to 46 pitches total after three.

The Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but it was tied right back up after Adam LaRoche's second home run in two at bats soared over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. No.23 for LaRoche. Three quick outs later, Hamels was through a 16-pitch fourth at 62 pitches overall.

Jose Lobaton lined a single to center to start the Nats' fifth, but he was forced out at second on a grounder by Gio Gonzalez. Denard Span walked on a questionable call on ball four, but Anthony Rendon K'd swinging for out no.2 and Jayson Werth sent out no.3 to center. 22-pitch frame for Hamels, 84 total after five.

Ian Desmond ripped a line drive double by third with one down in the Nationals' sixth, took third base on a balk by Hamels and scored on a sac fly to left by Scott Hairston. 3-2 Nats.

Hamels issued a one-out walk to Denard Span in teh Nats' seventh and Span stole his 29th base of the season with Anthony Rendon at bat. Rendon took the second straight walk from the Philly lefty. That was it for Hamels...

• Cole Hamels' Line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HR, 118 P, 73 S, 4/7 GO/FO.

2. Season Series: The Phillies wrapped up the season series with the Nationals with yesterday's win, which gave them 10 wins in 18 games, five straight vs the Nationals and wins in seven of the last nine games between the two teams. The Nationals avoided the second straight sweep at the hands of the Phillies with a 3-2 win in D.C., so the season series ended 10-9 in the Phillies' favor. See you next year, Phillies.

1. The Wrap-Up: After Darin Ruf singled to left to start the top of the seventh, Aaron Barrett replaced Gio Gonzalez on the mound and got a 5-4-3 DP out of Phillies' third baseman Maikel Franco. Freddy Galvis' weak cut at a 1-2 change ended the top of the seventh.

WIth two on and one out in the Nationals' seventh Mike Adams took over on the mound for Cole Hamels and got a 6-4-3 DP out of Jayson Werth to end the seventh.

Tyler Clippard took the mound for the Nationals in the eighth and gave up a line drive single to center by Ben Revere. Pinch hitter Chase Utley popped to short for out no.1. Revere stole second with Jimmy Rollins up... but upon review he was ruled out with Ian Desmond blocking Revere's left hand to keep it from the base. Grady Sizemore hit one straight down and stood there as Jose Lobaton threw him out.

Antonio Bastardo issued a two-out walks to Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera, bringing Jose Lobaton up with two on, but Lobaton sent a fly to right to end the eighth.

#STORENWARNING!!! Drew Storen took the mound in the ninth with a one-run lead looking for save no.2 of 2014. Carlos Ruiz worked the count full and lined out to left. ONE! Marlon Byrd fell behind 0-2 and K'd swinging at a filthy slider outside. TWO!! Ryan Howard stepped in with two out, got to a full count and K'd swinging at a changeup knee-high inside. Ballgame.

Nationals now 80-61