Nationals Hold Off Phillies to Take Series
By Matt Veasey
The host Washington Nationals got a big afternoon from ex-Phillies pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and topped the Fightins by 4-1 to gain a victory in the weekend series at Nationals Park.
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Gonzalez (4-2) lasted 6.1 innings, yielding 7 hits while striking out 7 and walking just one batter. He was followed to the mound by a parade of relievers, all of whom took turns shutting down the Phils bats. Closer Drew Storen finished it up, striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the 9th.
Meanwhile, Phils’ starter Aaron Harang (4-4) struggled a bit with his command all afternoon. He allowed 7 hits and 2 walks across his 6 innings, but left trailing just 2-1. Relievers Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman each allowed a run, allowing the Nats to stretch a close game out to a bit of comfort in the late innings.
The Phillies have made a habit of scoring first in recent games, and this was no exception. In the top of the 4th, Jeff Francoeur singled to score Freddy Galvis, and the Phils went on top 1-0. The Nats quickly tied it in the bottom, another frequent recent Phillies habit, when Jose Lobaton singled to bring home Clint Robinson.
In the bottom of the 5th, Nats 3rd baseman Yunel Escobar, in the midst of an outstanding season, led off with a triple against Harang. He came home on a ground out, and Washington had a 2-1 lead.
That score held for the hosts into the bottom of the 7th when they pulled away against the Phillies bullpen. De Fratus allowed a leadoff double to Denard Span, then got the next two batters out, yielding to Diekman. The lefty immediately allowed an opposite field RBI single by Bryce Harper and an RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman, stretching it out to the 4-1 final margin.
The Phillies now travel to New York for a 3-game series that will end their 2nd lengthy road trip of the past month. On Memorial Day afternoon, it will be rookie Severino Gonzalez taking the mound in the Big Apple against apparently ageless Mets veteran Bartolo Colon in a 1:10pm scheduled start at Citi Field.