Long Balls Crush Nats

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, May 22, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

Washington, DC--The Philadelphia Phillies used Matt Chico, Jesus Colome and Chris Schroder for batting practice Wednesday night, as they erupted for four home runs and twelve runs total on fifteen hits to handily defeat the Washington Nationals 12-2. The crowd of 28,055 were witness to an ugly 8-run sixth inning, including seven straight Phillies reaching base.

Chico (L, 0-6, 6.19), filling in for Shawn Hill (cortisone shot in pitching elbow), was bad enough. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings--allowing three of the four Phillies homers. But Colome was simply atrocious. Unfortunately, there is just no other way to say it. He faced seven batters and managed to record just one out. He allowed six earned runs on five hits and a walk, including Ryan Howard's second home run of the game. Chris Schroder wasn't much better, but certainly was luckier, as he gave up just two earned runs in one inning of work on three hits and four walks.

The only Nats pitcher approaching competence Wednesday was Joel Hanrahan, who threw two innings of shut out ball--allowing just a single walk--to finish the game. The Phillies' arms must have been tired from swinging so much earlier in the game.

The hit parade for the Phillies started in the first inning. The second batter of the game, center fielder Shane Victorino, drilled a one-out double to left. Chico managed to retire Chase Utley, but the big man for the Phils--figuratively and literally--Ryan Howard followed with a double to deep left that easily scored Victorino to take the early lead. Pedro Feliz led off the second against Chico with his seventh home run of the year, and the rout was on. The fifth inning saw Victorino go deep with his second of the season and Howard become the first player to hit the upper deck in Nationals Park with a drive that still might be going.

It went from bad to ugly in the sixth inning. Colome entered to relieve Chico and was just tattooed. He actually got the first batter, Jayson Werth, to strike out, but that is the only out he would record. Feliz singled to center, and catcher Chris Coste reached on an infield single. Colome then issued a walk to Phils starter Jamie Moyer (W, 4-3, 4.37). Manager Manny Acta had every right to go pull Colome right there, but the slaughter would continue. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single that scored Feliz and loaded the bases. Victorino did more damage, singling to right field, scoring Coste. First baseman Dmitri Young couldn't handle Elijah Dukes' relay throw and the ball scooted into the camera well next to the Phillies dug out, allowing Moyer and Rollins to score, putting Victorino at third. Utley doubled, scoring Victorino, and Acta then mercifully yanked Colome.

The Phils fun did not end, however, as Howard ripped Schroder's first pitch on a line drive into the stands to the left of the Nats bullpen for his twelfth home run of the season. Chris Coste later singled in another run to close the inning with eight runs on eight hits and two walks.

The Nats scraped two runs together in the bottom of the seventh on a Ryan Zimmerman infield single and RBI single from Dmitri Young, but that is all the could muster against the ageless Moyer and reliever Clay Condrey, who was awarded a three-inning save. The Nats actually had twelve hits on the night, but only three extra base hits, two doubles by Felipe Lopez (2-for-5, .259) and one by Jesus Flores (3-for-4, .357). Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge each added two hits as well.

The Nationals have an off-day Thursday. Friday they face the Milwaukee Brewers, with Odalis Perez (1-4, 4.34) taking on Jeff Suppan (2-3, 4.78) at 7:35 pm at Nationals Park.

NATS NOTES: Washington's record stands at 20-28 after the loss, seven and one-half games behind Florida in the NL East. Philadelphia is 26-22, one and one-half games back.

Moyer made his Nationals Park debut, the 46th major league ballpark for the 45-year-old pitcher. Moyer moved into 57th place on the all-time list with his 234th career win.

Washington has lost five of six at home and six straight against left-handed starters. Including 8 runs tonight, Washington has been outscored 45-21 in the 6th inning this season.

Jesus Flores matched a career high with three hits, and has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, going 11-for-29 (.379) with 5 doubles.

Long Balls Crush Nats also posted at DC Sports Box

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2007