Nats hope to move closer to division title in Philadelphia

John Lannan aims to rebound from a rough outing last time out and inch the Washington Nationals closer to the NL East title in the continuation of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

Lannan, a former Opening Day starter for the Nats, spent most of the season with Triple-A Syracuse before rejoining the big league club in early September. He made his third start of the campaign on Sept. 12, improving to 3-0 with 5 2/3 shutout innings in a victory over the New York Mets.

He then made the start last Wednesday versus the Los Angeles Dodgers and struggled in a no-decision, giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks over 3 2/3 frames.

Lannan, who turns 28 on Thursday, saw his season earned run average jump to 4.43.

The left-hander has struggled in his career versus the Phillies, going just 2-12 with a 5.79 ERA in 17 meetings.

Washington's magic number to clinch the NL East remains at five following Tuesday's 6-3 setback to Philadelphia. The Nats are four games up on the second-place Atlanta Braves, who rallied to beat the Miami Marlins earlier in the day.

Carlos Ruiz hit a three-run homer, Darin Ruf's first career hit was a home run and Domonic Brown also went deep for the Phillies, who have won five of their last seven to keep fading playoff hopes alive.

Philadelphia sits 5 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card position with only eight games remaining.

Cole Hamels earned his career-high 16th win of the season, giving up three runs over five innings.

"He's had a big year for us. I don't know where we'd be without him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Hamels.

Kurt Suzuki, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman drove in a run each for the Nationals, who have lost five straight in Philadelphia and seven of their last eight against the Phils overall.

The Nats fell to 93-61 on the season, tied with the NL Central-champion Cincinnati Reds for the top record in baseball.

Ross Detwiler worked five full frames, but served up five runs and as many hits with three walks as Washington failed to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game sweep of the Mets from Sept. 10-12.

Kyle Kendrick aims to hand Washington another loss this evening as he eyes a 2013 rotation spot for Philadelphia.

Kendrick has been used as a starter and a reliever this year, going 10-11 with a 3.89 ERA in 35 games, 23 of those starts. He is one win shy of matching his previous career high set in both 2008 and 2010.

The right-hander is 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 10 games since rejoining the rotation full-time in early August and is coming off a win over Atlanta on Friday. Kendrick allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six.

Kendrick beat the Nationals during his current run on Aug. 24, with the 28- year-old holding them to a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings. He is 3-4 with a 4.75 ERA against them lifetime.