Howard, Phillies ride early offense to win over Nats

Philadelphia, PA ( - Ryan Howard's first-inning three-run home run got the Philadelphia offense humming in an eventual 7-2 decision over Washington in the middle portion of a three-game series.

Jimmy Rollins collected four hits and scored twice, Marlon Byrd added a two- run single and Cody Asche also went deep for the Phillies, who bounced back from a 5-3 defeat in Friday's opener and won for the third time in their last five.

A.J. Burnett (2-1) tossed six effective innings, allowing Adam LaRoche's solo homer among three hits, while fanning seven and walking two.

"We came out swinging," said Burnett. "Anytime you get a couple early it makes you settle in and not worry too much and just focus on throwing strikes. For the most part I had good control of that two-seam fastball tonight. That was a good pitch for me getting out of jams."

LaRoche and Zach Walters each slugged a solo homer for the Nationals, who saw their three-game win streak come to a halt.

Tanner Roark (2-1) was roasted for seven runs on as many hits despite five strikeouts over four-plus frames.

"Last time out, Tanner was great. This time, not so much," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Roark. "Everything was flat. The sinker wasn't sinking (and) the breaking ball was up in the zone."

As in Friday's opener, the Phils took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run blast but this time from Howard. Rollins singled with one down, stole second and Chase Utley walked ahead of the blast.

Asche's line-drive shot to right with one out in the second gave the hosts a four-run advantage, and the lead grew to 5-0 in the fourth after Domonic Brown doubled with one out and came in when Carlos Ruiz followed with a double.

Roark was chased in the fifth, after back-to-back singles from Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Rollins to start the frame. Ryan Mattheus walked Utley and fanned Howard, but gave up a two-run single from Byrd to make it 7-0.

LaRoche barely cleared the wall near the right-field foul pole with one away in the sixth to get Washington on the board.

After a rain delay of 24 minutes, Walters took Mario Hollands deep to make it 7-2 in the seventh, but Mike Adams tossed a scoreless eighth and Antonio Bastardo followed suit in the ninth.

Game Notes

Burnett has pitched to an 0.98 ERA (three earned runs in 27 2/3 innings) with 25 strikeouts and five walks in his last four starts ... Prior to the contest, the Phillies announced that Cole Hamels will not start on Sunday due to the flu, with Roberto Hernandez taking the mound in his place and Hamels getting the nod on Tuesday against Toronto.