The floundering Philadelphia Phillies try to get out of the nation's capital with no more damage as they close out a three-game set against Washington on Sunday.
Philadelphia, which had won eight of 11 games heading into the All-Star Break, evening their record in the process at 48-48, have been absolutely atrocious in the second half thus far with only four wins in 20 opportunities. On Saturday the Phillies moved out to a 4-0 advantage in the second innings, but from there scored just once more as they suffered the 8-5 road loss to the Nationals.
"The bottom line is, we're not getting it done and we're losing a lot of games," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "We walk a lot of guys, and we fall behind, and we have to bring the ball over the plate and when we do, something happens for them. That's basically the bottom line."
Cliff Lee made it through six innings for the visitors, permitting three runs on seven hits and a couple of walks, while striking out six, but he didn't factor into the decision. Instead, it was reliever Jake Diekman who was charged with his third defeat of the campaign as he gave up two runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
Zach Miner was also caught off-guard by the Washington bats as he was knocked around for three runs on four hits and a walk, while recording just a single out in the seventh inning.
Domonic Brown was able to come up with his 26th home run of the season, one of his two hits as he plated a pair of runs, while Michael Martinez also had two hits in the setback for a Phillies squad that is now 12 games under .500 and 18 1/2 games out of contention in the National League East.
As for the Nationals, winners of two straight after dropping four in a row, they were led by former Phillie Jayson Werth, who connected on his 17th home run of the campaign, one of his three hits, as he knocked in three and scored three times, all while logging the 1,000th hit of his career.
"I had no idea until right before (the at-bat). It's definitely a milestone," Werth said. "You set out playing this game how many years ago -- that is one thing. It's one of the benchmarks of things you want to accomplish. It was good."
Anthony Rendon contributed with a couple of RBI as well for the Nationals, who are now all alone in second place in the NL East, albeit 14 1/2 games behind the blazing Atlanta Braves.
Washington starter Taylor Jordan wasn't around for the decision after allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out three in five innings. Instead, it was Tanner Roark with the win and Rafael Soriano who tallied the save, his 29th.
Seeking his first win in over a month now, Stephen Strasburg prepares to take the hill for the hosts this evening. The first overall pick in the 2009 draft, Strasburg is a disappointing four games under .500 this season after putting together a 15-6 mark a year ago when he was being closely monitored following surgery.
In 2013 the right-hander has been hampered mostly by poor run production by his teammates, although that's just one of the reasons why he hasn't posted a victory since July 7 versus San Diego.
Earlier this week the California native stepped up against the juggernaut Braves and, while he limited Atlanta to only two runs on five hits, striking out nine over seven innings, the Nationals still bowed in a 3-2 final as the hurler went without a decision.
Having picked up a win in his last appearance against the Phillies this season, Strasburg is now 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in four all-time appearances versus the club.
By no means as heralded as Strasburg, Kyle Kendrick is set to throw for Philadelphia in this series finale. Sporting a record of 10-8, the right- hander snapped a personal two-game slide on Tuesday with a victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Kendrick almost didn't come up with the win however, as the Phillies allowed a decent lead to dwindle to just 9-8 once the smoke finally cleared. The Houston native made it through six innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- on six hits, while striking out four.
A little more two weeks shy of his 29th birthday, Kendrick won his most recent outing against Washington last month and is now 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 22 all- time appearances versus the Nationals.
With last night's victory, Washington tied the season series at six games apiece.