WASHINGTON (AP) — Jordan Zimmermann became the National League’s first eight-game winner, and the Washington Nationals followed a calamitous road trip with a winning start to a homestand, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 on Friday night.
Zimmermann (8-2) allowed two runs and six hits with no walks over seven innings — actually raising his ERA to 1.71 — on an unseasonably chilly and windy night in the nation’s capital. There was at least a bit of heat from the Nationals’ bats, which have been going through such a cold spell that manager Davey Johnson said before the game he wouldn’t shave again until his lineup started hitting.
As it turned out, the Nationals scored their most runs in a week, and they got four or more in the same inning for the first time almost a month. Steve Lombardozzi, playing second while Danny Espinosa recovers from a broken wrist, had three hits, including a two-out, two-run double that capped the rally in the four-run fifth.
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (4-3) had his shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs and eight hits over five innings. He walked four for the second consecutive start, including three consecutive bases on balls that allowed the Nationals to score a run in the second with a sacrifice fly and no hits.
The Phillies missed a chance to pull even in two ways. A win would have put them at .500 for the first time since April 14, and it also would have tied them with the Nationals, who had lost four of five and have been mired in mediocrity while dealing with the expectations of Johnson’s preseason proclamation of “World Series or bust.”
The Nationals just completed a 10-game West Coast road trip that included a four-game losing streak, the team’s sixth shutout loss of the season, Bryce Harper’s head-first collision with a wall and a broken hand for Ryan Mattheus after he punched his locker following a rough outing. Washington entered the game hitting .225, second worst in the majors, and the scraggly-looking Johnson arrived at the ballpark saying: “I decided I wouldn’t shave until we started hitting.”
Both teams are missing some star power. The Phillies don’t have Roy Halladay (shoulder surgery) and Chase Utley (oblique strain), while the Nationals are making do without Jayson Werth (hamstring) and Espinosa, who learned Friday that he’s been playing with a slight fracture in his right wrist and will need a few days of rest, if not more.
Domonic Brown’s RBI single in the second and Erik Kratz’ sacrifice fly in the fifth gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead, but the Nationals put together five hits in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 5-2. Adam LaRoche hit an RBI triple off the center field wall and Kurt Suzuki had an RBI single before Lombardozzi’s drove in two more.
Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth for the Nationals, and Rafael Soriano sailed through the ninth for his 14th save.
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