Burnett’s gem helps Phillies edge Nationals


Aug 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Lately it’s been tough to best the Washington Nationals, a team with 24 wins in the second half, but the Phillies used a gem by A.J. Burnett to beat them 3-2 Monday night in Philadelphia.

Burnett has hardly been worth the $16 million the Phillies gave him this season with his 7-14 record, but had he pitched all season like he did Monday, Philadelphia may not be looking up at the Nationals who are 16.5 games ahead in the National League East.

“It’s the first time I felt like me in a long time,” Burnett told the Phillies’ official website.  “I wish I could have found that little glitch about a month, two months ago.”

The veteran right-hander was stellar in seven innings, limiting Nationals hitters to three hits while striking out a season-high 12 batters.  Burnett was making a shutout bid, but one home run from Anthony Rendon in the sixth made it a one-run game.

An RBI single from Domonic Brown put the Phillies up 1-0 in the fourth and Cody Asche added another run after he hit a solo homer in the fifth.

The Phillies added an insurance run on another solo home run in the seventh inning, that one coming off Carlos Ruiz‘s bat.

Jake Diekman relieved Burnett and pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up his 16th hold of the season.

Despite giving up a solo home run to Wilson Ramos in the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon managed to picked up the save for his 32nd in 2014.

While Burnett stifled the Nationals hot bats, Tanner Roark was no slouch in his start either.  The righty only gave up five hits along with two runs.  He and Burnett each threw 103 pitches each.

The Phillies improved to 31-38 at Citizen’s Bank Park this season.