A.J. Burnett strong as Phils take fifth straight over Nats


Sep 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) celebrate after both scored against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

There are times when it seems like a good idea for the Philadelphia Phillies to keep A.J. Burnett for their 2015 starting rotation and their 3-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday was one of those times.

Burnett on the whole has struggled in 2014 with an 8-15 record.  Before Saturday’s matchup with the Nationals he picked up a loss in seven of his last ten games.  He’s also the National League leader in walks with 80.

Burnett’s previous win came against the Nationals and he went seven strong in that game while surrendering only three hits.  Saturday he tossed seven innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits.  This season he is 3-2 against Washington.

“When you’re able to make a pitch, whether it’s ahead of the count or behind in the count, especially to that lineup, it’s a momentum shifter for our team,” Burnett told MLB’s official website.

The lone Nationals run came in the fifth inning as Anthony Rendon hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Asdrubal Cabrera.  Rendon now has 16 RBIs in 69 at bats against the Phillies this season.

By the time the Nationals got on the board, Philadelphia had already secured a lead.  A third-inning single from Ryan Howard plated both A.J. Burnett and Jimmy Rollins.

Domonic Brown added an insurance run for the Phillies in the sixth with a solo home run to right, his ninth of the season.

The Phillies’ go-to eight and nine inning relievers, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon, each shut the door on the Nationals offense.  Giles picked up his ninth hold of the season and hasn’t allowed a hit in his last five innings.  Papelbon got a save in his second straight game to bring his season total to 35.

Ben Revere was hitless in four at bats and as a result his batting average moved down to .314, bringing him back down to second in the NL.

The Phillies have now won five straight games over the Nationals and have taken a season series from them for the first season since 2010.