Dan Haren (ND, 4-5) struck out 10 over six innings, but the Washington Nationals (25-24) bullpen faltered once more as the Philadelphia Phillies (24-25) won 5-3 Saturday night.
Haren looked sharp to start the game, pitching a 1-2-3 first on 14 total pitches. The second inning, however, proved a lesson in inconsistency for the 32-year-old right-hander.
After striking out both Ryan Howard and Delmon Young, Haren gave up back-to-back solo shots to Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz to put Philly in front 2-0.
In the third, the Nats halved the lead via singles by Denard Span, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche. With two outs, Ian Desmond drew a walk to keep the inning alive but Kurt Suzuki grounded out to end the inning with the Nats behind 2-1.
Washington tied it in the fourth, however, after Steve Lombardozzi singled and advanced on a wild pitch. Span hit a soft liner to right to bring home Lombo, tying the game into the fifth.
But, Haren once more struggled to nab the third out in the top of the inning.
After striking out Kratz and forcing Ben Revere to bunt for a pop out, Jonathan Pettibone and Jimmy Rollins hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game once more, 2-2.
The Nats, at last, looked to the long ball themselves in the bottom of the inning when LaRoche’s homer over the center field wall made it 3-2 Nationals, positioning Haren for the win.
When all was said and done, Haren had thrown 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out 10 and tossed 60 of 88 pitches for strikes.
Henry Rodriguez kept the lead alive, providing the Nationals with an inning of perfect relief.
In the eighth, however, it all fell apart as Washington called upon Drew Storen (L, 0-1). And, yet again, Philadelphia worked Nats’ pitching into a bind on two outs.
With two outs and Michael Young on base via a walk, Delmon Young singled to right, somehow plating Michael Young from first.
Domonic Brown followed up with a double to center to bring home pinch-runner Michael Martinez and, by that time, Philadelphia had jumped in front 5-3.
The Nats looked to threaten in the bottom of the inning off Chad Durbin when Suzuki singled and Tyler Moore drew a walk. Steve Lombardozzi, however, flied out before the Phillies called upon Jeremy Horst who sent Chad Tracy and Span back to the bench in order.
Jonathan Papelbon shut things down in the ninth to seal the Phillies’ 5-3 win.