The Washington Nationals' fifth inning rally on Sunday started with a two-out single to right by returning leadoff man and center fielder Denard Span. The left-handed hitting, 31-year-old outfielder lined a single to right off Philadelphia Phillies' righty David Buchanan then scored from first on an Ian Desmond double to the left field corner, 1-0.
Jayson Werth singled to center in the next at bat, then took second on an ill-advised throw home by Odubel Herrera that had no chance of catching Desmond at the plate, 2-0.
Philly skipper Ryne Sandberg had Buchanan walk Bryce Harper intentionally, putting two on in front of Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a fly to right that fell in front of a hustling, tumbling Jeff Francoeur and drove Werth in.
The inning ended with the Nats up 3-0.
Phillies' starter David Buchanan told reporters, including Philadelphia Daily News' reporter John Smallwood, that he felt he actually made good pitches in that sequence.
"I had some tough luck on some hits," Buchanan said.
"The ball I threw Span was a good pitch. Desmond, I tried to go in and it went down the line. I felt like he was out front a bit. The fly ball to Zimmerman, you can't do anything about that.
"I felt like I made some good pitches but had some tough luck."
Zimmerman hit an RBI single in the seventh as well, again with two outs, driving Desmond in from second two outs after the Nats' shortstop took a leadoff walk from Phillies' right-hander Dustin McGowan.
Zimmerman, the Nationals' 30-year-old first baseman, finished Sunday's game 2 for 4 with a .184/.286/.408 line, three doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven walks and 10 Ks after 13 games and 56 plate appearances this season.
All of Zimmerman's extra base hits have come with runners in scoring position and he's 4 for 11 with two doubles, the triple, one walk and five Ks with two outs and runners in scoring position to this point.
The two-out runs, Matt Williams said after the win, as he talked about the Nationals' fifth, were, obviously "really important."
"Desi started it with the double and then with Harp sitting in the middle of the lineup there, it's a decision to make," he said. "And then Zim didn't hit either one of those balls especially hard, but he's got the ability to drive runs in. So, that sets up our offense a little bit.
"Two-out base hits are ways you win games and getting those guys in [is] important, so we want to keep creating those opportunities for ourselves and come through as well."
Harper ended the day 0 for 2 with two walks. He went 3 for 9, .333/625/.1.000, with two homers, four walks, seven Ks and five runs scored in the four-game set with the Nationals' NL East rivals from Philadelphia.
On the year, Harper is 12 for 45 so far (.267/.411/.556) with a double, four home runs, and 10 runs scored.
The two free passes for Harper in Sunday's game were the tenth and eleventh walks overall and fourth and fifth intentional walks of the 22-year-old right fielder in 13 games.
Harper has been walked intentionally more than anyone else in the majors early this season.
"I think it's a product of where we're at in a game in that particular game and I think it goes from game-to-game," Williams said when asked Harper getting put on intentionally.
"Today, they've got a decision to make with Harp with a man on second base," Williams continued, "and they chose to pitch to Zim and I don't know anybody in their right mind who wouldn't, the way he's swinging and the way Harp is swinging, they're not going to let that guy beat you.
"But beyond that, Zim's got the ability to drive runs in too, that's why he hits in the middle of our lineup and that's why he's been so good. He takes what's given and doesn't get over-excited about it and simpy tries to get a hit with that guy out there."