GAME 105: Nats Fall in Extras, Can't Complete Sweep

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, August 02, 2010 | , , , | 1 comments »

by Anthony Amobi, Staff Writer

On Sunday, the Washington Nationals could not repeat the magic of the previous night's victory as they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in eleven hard-fought innings, 6-4.

The Nationals (46-59), who were winners of three straight and had the chance to sweep the rival Phillies (57-48), came up short as the Phils scratched two runs off reliever Colin Balester in the top of the eleventh, breaking a 4-4 tie.

Balester, who had pitched a scoreless inning in Friday’s blowout, allowed Wilson Valdez to reach base on a bunt single, and then both Placido Polanco and Jayson Werth came up with two-out hits (an RBI-single, double, respectively) to break open the game.

Philadelphia closer, Brad Lidge, who was lit up on Saturday on Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off homer, earned a simple three-out save – his 11th of the season - in anti-climactic fashion.

The Phillies’ Jose Contreras (6-3), who pitched in relief during the tenth inning, got the win, while the Nationals’ Balester (0-1) took the loss. The announced sellout crowd of 35,807 – a large portion again rooting for Philadelphia – saw the Phillies avert a three-game sweep, but saw the Nationals hang in there as long they possibly could.
Ryan Zimmerman and Alberto Gonzalez both had two hits and Adam Dunn added his 25th homer to power the offensive for the Nationals.

Sunday’s game for the Washington featured the return of a pitcher who had a prominent role with the franchise for the past couple of seasons.

Pitcher John Lannan, after an extended stay in Double-A, was promoted back to the majors before the game. His overall numbers for the day were solid, but he had somewhat of an up-and-down day on Sunday. He started the afternoon off rough, but settled in, induced several groundball outs and finished his outing in strong fashion – striking out the final three batters in the fifth inning.

On the day, Lannan went five innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked just one.

Lannan’s afternoon started off bumpy, as the Phillies got to him for a 2-0 lead in the first inning. He retired the first two batters but Jayson Werth started the Philadelphia rally with a double, followed by a Ryan Howard single. Werth crossed home plate on a Ben Francisco single, but Howard -- running back to second on the play -- landed awkwardly on second base and was on the ground for a period.

Howard was taken out the game and limped back to the dugout under his own power. Howard was taken for x-rays, which were negative.  Howard’s injury was termed a left ankle sprain and it's unknown if he’ll miss any time.

He was replaced by Cody Ransom, who scored Philadelphia’s second run on Domonic Brown’s single up the middle.

In the fourth inning, Washington struck back and finally got on the scoreboard.

Hamels struck out four in the first three innings but finally he ran into some trouble in the fourth. He plunked Roger Bernadina to start off the frame and then allowed a double to Ian Desmond. With runners on second and third with one out, Zimmerman roped a two-run double to right center field and tied the game at two.

For the game, Hamels went seven innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits, striking out ten.

After his rocky start, Lannan sailed through the next few innings but in the fifth, he hit Placido Polanco. Moments later, Werth singled and with men on first and second, Lannan looked to be on the ropes.  However, he struck out the next three batters out in succession – his only strikeouts of the game – to end the inning.

If you told manager Jim Riggleman before the game he'd get five innings out of Lannan with just two runs scored, I'm sure he would have taken you up on it.

The Nationals took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth as Adam Dunn took Hamels deep to right field. Dunn’s homer – his 25th of the season – landed in the second deck.

However, Washington would not hold the lead for very long.

The Phillies knotted the game in the seventh. With reliever Miguel Batista on the mound for Washington, they started the frame off with a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins and then he scored on Polanco’s RBI-double down the left field line.  Ben Francisco plated Polanco for the game tying run.

The teams then played four more innings before settling the contest in the 11th inning.

The Nats begin a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night at 9:40 pm.  Livan Hernandez (7-7) faces Rodrigo Lopez (5-9).


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