Friday, May 4, 2012

Phils fall in extras for second time this week against Nats

PBR - Despite attempts to keep Phillies Nation out of Nationals Park, the sea of Phils red came in droves anyway against Washington on Friday night, giving the ballpark a home feel once again for the away team.

Although the crowd was behind them, Kyle Kendrick made his third start for the Phillies, but couldn't hold on in a 4-3 loss to the Nationals in 11 innings.  still in first place in the National League East.

With two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Michael Schwimer gave up the game-winning single to pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos. Schwimer was tagged with the loss.

In the start, Kendrick went five innings, allowing one run on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts in the no-decision.

For Washington, Stephen Strasburg allowed three runs over six innings in a quality start for the Nats (17-10), but the offense was unable to give the young fireballer enough run support.  Strasburg also took a no-decision.

The loss puts the Phillies 4 1/2 games within the top of the division. After Kendrick pitched out of a jam in the third inning, Hunter Pence hit a two-run home run to center in the top of the fourth for the 2-0 Phillies advantage.

Nationals first basemen Chad Tracy cut the deficit in half right away with a solo homer, but catcher Carlos Ruiz countered that right away with a home run himself when Strasburg offered a fastball right down the middle to allow his first long ball since 2010.

Ruiz went 2-for-4 against Washington, raising his batting average to .338 with his 18th RBI, both leading the team.

Phils relievers Joe Savery and Jose Contreras came out of the bullpen to pitch in the sixth, giving up a sacrifice fly from catcher Jesus Flores that scored Danny Espinosa to bring the Nationals within one run.

However, Chad Qualls blew the save in the eighth when he let a run score on Flores' double.

But, thanks to some stellar defensive play from shortstop Jimmy Rollins and ill-advised baserunning from Ankiel, the Phillies (13-14) were able to save two runs in the latter stages of the contest and ultimately send it into extras.

Tomorrow afternoon, Vance Worley (2-1, 1.97 ERA) will look to improve on his early success against lefty Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 1.82 ERA) in the second game of the series. First pitch is set for 1:05.

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