WASHINGTON (AP) — The way his team keeps piling up losses, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is on the verge of losing his cool. Considering how his bullpen imploded in Cliff Lee’s latest start, it would be understandable.
Jayson Werth launched a two-run homer in the seventh inning for his 1,000th career hit, highlighting a five-run rally that sent the Washington Nationals over the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 Saturday night.
Werth got three hits against his former team, including an RBI single in the fourth and his two-out, tiebreaking shot off reliever Zach Miner.
Jake Diekman (0-3) took the loss in a game the Phillies led 4-0 in the second inning. Lee left after six innings with a 4-3 edge, but Philadelphia dropped its 10th straight road game. Overall, the Phillies have lost eight of 10.
Manuel was asked if losing this game combined with the team’s poor play since the All-Star break made him want to scream.
“It kind of gets me in a screaming mood, but I’m trying to keep my cool,” Manuel said. “When you start losing and you find different ways to lose every night it becomes tough. You’ve got to fight through it.”
The Nationals’ rally denied Manuel his 1,000th win.
In his second major league game, Tanner Roark (1-0) pitched two spotless innings. Tyler Clippard surrendered Domonic Brown’s 26th home run in the eighth and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
Darin Ruf also homered for the Phillies.
Pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi drew a leadoff walk from Diekman in the seventh. With one out and runners at the corners, Diekman faced Bryce Harper in a lefty-lefty matchup.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson called for a safety squeeze on a 1-1 pitch. Harper bunted, and the ball popped in the air and landed in front of second baseman Chase Utley, who recorded a forceout at second as the tying run scored.
Werth, a former Phillies star, then greeted Miner with his homer, and Anthony Rendon tacked on a two-run single later in the inning.
“When you set out playing this game however many years ago, that was one thing, a benchmark you put on the list of things you want to accomplish,” said Werth, who scored three runs. “It was good.”
In 58 games since returning from a hamstring injury on June 2, Werth is hitting .355 with 13 homers and 38 RBI
“He’s absolutely raking right now.” Bryce Harper said. “I’m just trying to touch his bat so I can get some hits in there.”
Lee had lost his previous three starts. The veteran left-hander has not won since defeating Atlanta on July 5.
Wilson Ramos hit a two-out single in the sixth to score Werth, trimming Philadelphia’s lead to 4-3. Lee ended the threat then exited the game.
“They got my pitch count up and I was done after six,” said Lee, who threw 97 pitches.
“I feel like when I’m out my job’s done. It’s up to the guys coming in behind me to keep it where it’s at,” he said.
Asked later if he had confidence in the Phillies bullpen, Lee said, “Yea, I mean hey, why not.”
Lee picked up an RBI with his own safety-squeeze bunt during Philadelphia’s four-run second inning. Ruf hit a two-run homer off Taylor Jordan and later Jimmy Rollins singled home a run.
“We did some good things tonight early in the game,” Manuel said. “Our young guys hit the ball good, things like that. We scored some runs, but we couldn’t add on.”
NOTES: Making his eighth career start, Jordan allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings. … Facing minor league batters, Phillies RHP Roy Halladay threw five 15-pitch innings during a simulated game in Clearwater, Fla. “He came out of it great,” Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. Halladay has been on the disabled list since May 6 and eventually had right shoulder surgery. … Sunday’s series finale matches RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-8, 4.36 ERA) against Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01 ERA).
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