PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brad Peacock, making just his second major league start, pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings and Michael Morse hit a three-run homer to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, completing a four-game sweep.
Roger Bernadina drove in two runs for the Nationals (76-79), who handed the division champions their sixth straight loss. Washington has won five straight overall and eight in a row on the road, and needs to win five of its last six for the organizations first season over .500 since 2003.
Carlos Ruiz had three hits and an RBI for the Phillies (98-58), who clinched their fifth straight NL East title on Saturday night but havent won since. The season-high six-game skid is Philadelphia’s longest since last May and it was the first time the Phillies have been swept in a series of more than two games since last August.
Philadelphia played all but three regulars, resting first baseman Ryan Howard, right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Placido Polanco, and continued to have trouble offensively. The Phillies managed just four hits off Peacock and five relievers.
The Phillies, as they have since Saturday’s clinching win over St. Louis, need four wins to set the club’s franchise record for wins in a season. That was thought to be a formality, but now the club will have to win four of its final six, beginning with Friday night’s three-game series at the Mets followed by a three-game stint to close the season in Atlanta.
Roy Oswalt (8-10) allowed six runs on seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. The right-hander, who has been battling to regain his velocity since returning from a 37-game absence due to back inflammation in August, reached 94 mph on the radar gun and looked effective for much of the game.
Morse did the most damage, though, with his two-out, three-run homer in the eighth that turned a close game into a rout.
Peacock (2-0) had his second straight impressive outing in as many major league starts, allowing only Ruiz’s infield single in the second. The 23-year-old right-hander, who went 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA between Double- and Triple-A this season, hasn’t allowed a run in his two big league starts over 10 2/3 innings. Peacock, who was drafted in the 41st round in 2006, walked two and struck out two while recording just two ground-ball outs.
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the third on RBI hits by Ian Desmond and Bernadina. Desmond’s double that scored Rick Ankiel should have been the third out, but Chase Utley misjudged the ball in shallow right and couldn’t make the over-the-shoulder catch. Right fielder John Bowker was charging the ball, but held up to avoid a collision with Utley. Desmond scored on Bernadina’s grounder that just got past the outstretched glove of first baseman Ross Gload.
The Phillies threatened in the sixth when Peacock and reliever Tom Gorzelanny walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Raul Ibanez flew out to center to end the frame. It was one of the few times the Phillies fans were able to use the rally towels given out on Fan Appreciation Night.
Washington added four runs in the eighth, all with two outs. Bernadina’s two-out double off the wall in right-center scored Desmond, who barely had beat out an infield single. Oswalt walked Ryan Zimmerman to put runners on first and second, prompting a visit from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Morse followed by launching Oswalt’s 3-2 pitch into the Phillies bullpen in center to give Washington a 6-0 lead.
Philadelphia scores its lone run with two outs in the ninth on Ruiz’s single off Todd Coffey.
Utley continued his recent struggles, going 0-for-3 to finish 6-for-31 (.194) on the homestand.
Notes: Washington’s Danny Espinosa went 0-for-4 and had his 10-game hitting streak snapped. Philadelphia’s crowd of 45,064 was the club’s 204th consecutive regular-season sellout, and the team finished the year with 3,680,718 fans. The Phillies open a three-game series against the Mets in New York at 7:05 Friday night with Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.80) is scheduled to face Mets righty R.A. Dickey (8-13, 3.35). Washington returns home for a three-game series against the Braves with right-hander Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 1.29) scheduled to meet Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson (15-10, 3.19).
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)