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Washington Nationals drop second straight to Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0: Jeremy Hellickson with seven scoreless

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Gio Gonzalez and Jeremy Hellickson battled through five scoreless each, but the Philadelphia Phillies struck first with runs in the sixth and seventh innings in what ended up a 3-0 win over the Washington Nationals in Nationals Park. Hellickson tossed seven scoreless.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez gave up four hits, two walks and one earned run in seven innings of work on the mound for Washington against the Philadelphia Phillies when he faced them in Citizens Bank Park earlier this month.

The Nationals lost that game when Nats' closer Jonathan Papelbon blew a save opportunity in the bottom of the tenth.

Tonight in the nation's capital, the 31-year-old left-hander and Phillies' right-hander Jeremy Hellickson engaged in a pitchers' duel, throwing five scoreless each before the visiting team struck in the sixth.

Odubel Herrera singled to center, took second on a sac bunt and third on a wild pitch before scoring on a one-out, sac fly to center by Darin Ruf that made it 1-0.

Cesar Hernandez and Tyler Goeddel hit back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the Phillies' seventh, and both runners moved up on a sac bunt by Hellickson before Hernandez scored from third base on a chopper toward third when Anthony Rendon's throw home was high, 2-0.

Sammy Solis took over with the bases loaded and one out and got a 4-6-3 double play out of Freddy Galvis to get the Nationals out of the bases-loaded, one-out jam he inherited from Gonzalez in the seventh.

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 108 P, 62 S, 10/4 GO/FO.

Carlos Ruiz hit a 3-2 heater from Solis out to left for a two-out solo blast in the eighth that put the Phillies up 3-0.

Jeremy Hellickson's Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 92 P, 60 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Hector Neris retired the Nationals in order in the eighth. Jeanmar Gomez earned his second save in two games. 3-0 final.

Nationals now 14-6

NATS NOTES:

  • Bryce Harper started the night leading all major league hitters in RBIs (with 24), slugging percentage (.844) and home runs (with 9).
  • Harper is also 10 for 21 (.476 AVG) with runners on base, with four home runs, five doubles and eight walks in plate appearances with runners on base early this season
  • Daniel Murphy went 1 for 3 last night, and he'd reached base safely in 16 of 18 games going into the second game of three with the Phillies in D.C. He doubled to left in his first at bat. 17 of 19.
  • Murphy started the night leading the majors in batting average (.394), and he'd reached base in 35 of 75 plate appearances so far.
  • Washington's pitching staff still leads the majors with a combined 2.33 ERA through 19 games. Nationals' starters also rank second in the majors in ERA (2.48 ERA).
  • The Nationals' five errors thus far this season are the fewest in the majors. Nats' skipper Dusty Baker talked about his team's defense before last night's game when he was asked if he was surprised by the solid defense he's seen?:

    "Not really, I'm surprised when they don't catch the ball. They work at it. These guys really, really work. Davey [Lopes] works with the outfielders every day. Chris Speier works with the infielders.

    "Everybody hits ground balls. My teams catch the ball. You've got to make them aware and conscious of defense. Cause defense is work. I mean, you go to a Little League game, or a Little League practice, everybody wants to hit and as soon as they get through hitting they're ready to go home. Because now that's time to go -- fun's over see - because batting practice is fun. Defense is work, I mean, in every sport. I'm pleased, but not surprised."

  • Gio Gonzalez started the night (8-5) in 17 career starts against the Phillies with a 2.91 ERA against the Nationals' NL East rivals.
  • Phillies' skipper Pete Mackanin put his pitcher in the eight-spot in the lineup last night. It was the first time a Phillies' pitcher batted eighth since Steve Carlton did on June 1, 1979.
  • Odubel Herrera walked twice in last night's game, leaving him with 19 total walks early this season, good for the third most in the majors behind only Paul Goldschmidt (22) and Jose Bautista (20).
  • Herrera also extended his on-base streak with his leadoff walk in the first inning last night. He's up to 19-straight games in which he's reached base.
  • If the Phillies win tonight's game, it would be their third straight win in the nation's capital. The last time Philadelphia won three in a row in Washington? May 6-August 1, 2012. They did it. Way to go, Phillies.
  • In today's Phillies-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, the Phillies were 15-24 in their last 39 games in D.C. before tonight. Update: Now 16-24 in the last 40.

Nationals now 14-6