Saturday, August 10, 2013

Take That Philly: Nationals Crush Phillies 9-2

Ian Desmond slams a 3rd inning double to deep center

They may appear done on the playoff front; but the Washington Nationals played in post-season form last night, blasting the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 in front of 27,831 at Nats Park. Starting pitcher Dan Haren (7-11) continued his remarkable comeback, allowing just four hits and two runs over seven innings. He also racked up seven strikeouts, while winning his first start against Philadelphia in eight career tries.

Unfortunately for scoreboard watchers, the Atlanta Braves won their 14th straight (5-0 over woeful Miami) so the Nats remain 15.5 games back for the division lead and nine out from a wild card spot. Still, nothing could take away from tonight's stellar play. Anthony Rendon (6) and Ryan Zimmerman (13) both homered as the Nats ended a four-game losing streak. All eight starters had at least one hit, and even Haren notched an RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of a four-run fifth.

2B Anthony Rendon crosses home plate after his 6th HR of the season

Since returning from the disabled list in July, Haren has been everything the Nationals imagined they'd get when they signed him to a one-year/$13 million contract last winter. Friday's win was his third straight in as many starts; and he became just the 13th pitcher to beat all 30 teams in baseball. The 32-year-old righty also saw his ERA drop below 5.00 (4.99) for the first time in what seems like forever.

SP Dan Haren won his 3rd straight start

Rendon and Zimmerman hit towering homers in the second to put Washington up 3-0, and led 8-1 after six innings. Former Nat John Lannan gave up nine hits and eight runs before exiting after five. The Nats outhit Philly 12-4 (half of Washington's hits were for extra bases.)

Thomas Jefferson edges George to win the President's Race

Washington turns to rookie Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.76) to face Cliff Lee (10-5, 3.13) tonight; before rolling out staff ace Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01) to pitch in tomorrow's late afternoon finale. A three-game sweep has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Click here for last night's box score.