ROARK, BURNETT ENGAGE IN PITCHERS DUEL IN PHILLY
Playing in Citizens Bank Park in the City of Brotherly Love, the Washington Nationals suffered their second defeat in their last 14 games, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-2.
The Nationals sent Tanner Roark to the mound to oppose the Phillies’ A.J. Burnett. Both pitchers engaged in quite the pitching duel with most of the scoring coming in the second half of the ball game.
Entering the bottom of the fourth, the two teams were locked in a low-scoring affair as both sides were only able to muster a single hit a piece. That, however, would change when Philadelphia broke the scoreless tie.
After Ryan Howard doubled and moved to third on a Marlon Byrd shallow single, Domonic Brown then scored Howard on a single to center. To end the threat, Roark forced Carlos Ruiz to ground into a 5-3 double play, one of two double plays Washington converted on the evening.
Already up 1-0, Cody Asche clobbered a Roark’ 2-0 breaking ball that failed to break in the bottom of the fifth. By the time the ball came down, it was 20 rows deep into the right field seats.
In the top of the sixth, Washington answered when Anthony Rendon (1-for-4, RBI) muscled a high-and-inside first-pitch fastball over the fence in left field. His 17th homer of the year cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
Two innings later, Roark’s (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K) day was done and Jerry Blevins came on to work the seventh. After working back to a full count against Ruiz, Blevins missed his spot and the Phillies’ catcher took him deep to right to extend the lead back to two runs.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals mounted a small rally against closer Jonathan Papelbon that fell just short. After Wilson Ramos (1-for-4, RBI) homered with two outs and Asdrubal Cabrera (1-for-1) singled, Nate Schierholtz (0-for-1) grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Roark took home the loss, his eighth of the year, while Burnett was awarded his seventh victory of the season.
On Tuesday night, the Nationals will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound to take on the Phillies’ Cole Hamels. First pitch from Citizens Bank Park will be at 7:05 PM EST.
- While quiet offensively, Bryce Harper (0-for-4, 3 K) was awarded an outfield assist in the seventh after throwing out Domonic Brown, who was trying to stretch a single into a double. Originally, Brown was ruled safe, but the call was overturned after replay showed he had come off the bag while Danny Espinosa (0-for-2) was still applying the tag.
- Washington failed to score enough runs to win, but it wasn’t due to a lack of opportunities. On the day, seven runners were left on base and the team went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
- Ross Detwiler came on to pitch the eighth inning and his performance is worth noting. He allowed one hit, but struck out one in a scoreless inning that needed just nine pitches — six strikes — to complete.
Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!