PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies spot starter Sean O’Sullivan held his own against one of the game’s best pitchers.
It wasn’t enough as Philadelphia’s hitters came up short.
Wilson Ramos drove in what would be the winning run in the 10th inning with his second RBI of the day, and the Washington Nationals defeated Philadelphia 4-3.
Bryce Harper homered and Clint Robinson had three hits Sunday for the Nationals, who salvaged a win in the three-game series.
Darin Ruf homered and Cody Asche had three hits and an RBI for Philadelphia.
“I like the fight in the guys,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “The energy is there; the fight is there. We can build on that.”
Sandberg also liked O’Sullivan’s performance, especially considering Philadelphia needed him to go deep into the game after straining the bullpen over the first week.
“O’Sullivan gave us a big lift,” Sandberg said.
O’Sullivan, called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the game, gave up two runs on five hits in six innings. He walked five and struck out two.
“I was happy to be able to get through six and when I got in trouble to be able to keep crooked numbers off the board,” O’Sullivan said.
Sandberg indicated afterward that O’Sullivan would get at least one more start. The Phillies are hoping rehabbing Chad Billingsley fills that role later this month. Billingsley is trying to come back from two right elbow surgeries that limited him to 12 innings the last two seasons.
Yunel Escobar led off the 10th with a double off Jake Diekman (0-1). Harper was asked to sacrifice bunt but failed in two attempts before his groundout moved Escobar to third.
Justin De Fratus replaced Diekman, but his first offering to Ryan Zimmerman was a wild pitch, allowing Escobar to score to put Washington up 3-2. Ramos’ RBI single later made it a two-run game.
Drew Storen walked the first two batters in the bottom of the 10th, and the Phillies got within a run on Odubel Herrera’s two-out infield single. But Zimmerman made a diving stop on Cesar Hernandez’s grounder and flipped to Storen for the final out, giving Storen his second save in as many chances.
Aaron Barrett (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts for the win.
Max Scherzer, Washington’s prized offseason acquisition, wasn’t as sharp as opening day and had to settle for another no-decision. Scherzer left with the lead after allowing one run on six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Ruf greeted reliever Xavier Cedeno with a drive to left to lead off the seventh for his first career pinch-hit home run, which tied the score at 2-2.
The Phillies got their lone run off Scherzer in the fifth on Asche’s RBI single.
Ryan Howard went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. He stranded six runners, including three in scoring position, and was replaced at first base by Ruf in the eighth. Howard was booed after each of the last three strikeouts, with the volume increasing for each one. He is batting .150 with seven strikeouts in 20 at-bats this season.
“He was a little behind the fastball and didn’t connect today,” Sandberg said. “Hopefully, he can regroup. He’s going to continue to work at it, I know that. Hopefully, it’s a one-day thing.”
O’Sullivan was thrilled when he found out he would be opposed by Scherzer, mainly because he wanted to hit against him to see the former Cy Young winner’s stuff up close. O’Sullivan drew a walk off Scherzer in the fifth and eventually scored.
Nationals: OF Jayson Werth (shoulder) could rejoin Washington for Monday’s game against Boston. Werth didn’t play Sunday at Single-A Potomac, where he homered in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday during a rehab start.
Phillies: OF Domonic Brown (Achilles) homered Sunday during a rehab start with the Phillies’ Single-A team in Clearwater. Brown is scheduled to rejoin the Phillies in 2-3 weeks.
Nationals: Washington visits Boston for the Red Sox home opener Monday, with Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50) facing Rick Porcello (0-1, 4.50).
Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00) looks to extend his recent success against the Mets in New York’s home opener Monday. Harang went 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts against the Mets last season with the Braves. Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom (0-1, 3.00) starts for New York.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)