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(Sports Network) - Ben Francisco hit two of Philadelphia's four home runs and Joe Blanton was sharp for seven innings in a 7-1 victory over Washington in the rubber game of a three-game set.
Francisco finished with three hits, three runs scored and three runs batted in, while Mike Sweeney and John Mayberry also went deep for the Phillies, who have won 19 of their last 23 road games and each of their last eight road series.
"It's good to get some ABs here in the last few days," Francisco said. "I think all of us are pretty excited to get in there. I mean, we've been sitting for a while. So it's pretty good to get out there and contribute."
Blanton (9-6) yielded a lone unearned run on only three hits while walking three and striking out six for the Phillies, who finished the month with a 21-6 mark and fell one win shy of matching the club record for wins in September.
Ross Detwiler (1-3) was saddled with the loss after allowing all seven runs on seven hits, including all four long balls, and a pair of walks while fanning two for the Nationals, who finished their last homestand of the season at 6-4 to end their 2010 home slate with a 41-40 record.
"Our players appreciate the way the fans treat them here," said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. "So it's going to get the reputation of a great place to play, but you can only wait so long. Fans have been very patient, and hopefully in the near future we'll get this thing really going in the right direction."
Sweeney and Francisco started the second inning with back-to-back homers to left field to give the Phillies the early lead.
In the fourth, Sweeney walked and Francisco followed with a single before Mayberry walloped a three-run homer to left-center to give the visitors a five-run cushion.
Nyjer Morgan opened the home fourth with a single, moved to third on a Sweeney throwing error and scored on an Ian Desmond ground out to produce the Nats' lone run.
Francisco's second long ball of the night, a two-run shot with two outs in the fifth, made it 7-1 and chased Detwiler from the game.
The hosts put two runners on with one out in the sixth before Blanton got Desmond to fly out and fanned Adam Dunn to end the inning.
The Nats threatened again in the seventh as the first two hitters reached. Blanton was then able to get a fly out, a pop up and a strikeout to keep the runners planted and end the frame and his outing.
The Phillies won 22 games in September of 1916 and 1983...Philadelphia is 10-1 in Blanton's last 11 starts and he is 5-0 in that stretch...Blanton has given up two earned runs or less in nine of his last 13 turns...He beat the Nats for the first time in three starts this year and evened his career mark versus the Nationals at 3-3...Blanton also squared his road record at 4-4 this year. Francisco had his fourth career multi-homer game and first with the Phils, who won the season series, 12-6...Philadelphia is 30-9 in its last 39 meetings with the Nats...The Phillies have won seven of their last nine series in the nation's capital...Philadelphia has also won 27 of its last 35 games within the division...Phils third baseman Placido Polanco had a cortisone shot in his left elbow Wednesday and is expected to rejoin the team over the weekend for the final series of the year in Atlanta...Detwiler is 0-3 in five games, four starts, against the Phillies.
(Sports Network) - Set to be a free agent at season's end, Adam Dunn has expressed a desire to remain with the Washington Nationals. After his game- winning blast last night, it's tough to think the feeling isn't mutual.
Dunn and his Washington teammates shoot for a series win tonight over the National League East-champion Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three- game series that is also the Nationals' final home game of the season.
Dunn belted a 2-0 offering from Phillies reliever Jose Contreras into the seats to begin the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night, lifting the Nationals to a 2-1 victory and a 6-3 mark on this 10-game homestand. Dunn is hitting .264 with 103 RBI this year and is now just two homers away from his fifth career 40-homer season.
"I knew that I was taking early in the count," said Dunn, who picked up his first hit in 10 career at-bats versus Contreras. "When [Contreras] got behind 2-0, I was just going to look for a pitch I could square up."
The Phillies, who have lost three of four since an 11-game winning streak, have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason and rested regulars Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth.
Even starter Roy Oswalt left after just five innings despite allowing one unearned run on just two hits.
"He got his work in real good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I liked the way he pitched. Our bullpen did a pretty good job. Contreras, of course, gave up a home run there at the end, but that's the first hit that Dunn's had off him."
Joe Blanton will take the hill for the Phillies tonight and is 5-1 with a 3.59 earned run average in 14 starts since the All-Star break. The right-hander hasn't lost since July 21 and picked up a victory over the Mets on Friday after giving up just two runs over seven innings.
Blanton is 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA in 27 starts this year, but has a 6.00 ERA in two starts versus the Nationals without a decision. Lifetime against the franchise, the 29-year-old is just 2-3 with a 6.41 ERA.
The 24-year-old lefty limited Houston to a pair of runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings in his first start since Aug. 5. He is 1-2 with a 2.52 ERA in seven games this year, including four starts.
Detwiler is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in four career games versus the Phillies, including one relief appearance, and held them to a run over 5 1/3 innings without a decision in a start on July 31.
The Phillies have won 11 of the 17 overall meetings with Washington this year, splitting eight games so far at Nationals Park.
With the possibility of clinching home field advantage for the entire playoffs, Charlie still sent out Utley, Howard, and Ibanez after last night’s celebration. Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown, and Greg Dobbs will start in tonight’s game. I would have liked to have seen Mike Sweeney and Ross Gload play, but I suspect they’ll get plenty of AB’s over the last few games regardless.
Hopefully the three lefties can pad their stats off the softballer, Jason Marquis. I can’t imagine Oswalt goes more than 5 or 6 innings.
With five games to go before the postseason begins, Jimmy Rollins makes his return to the Phillies starting lineup tonight against the Nationals. Rollins has spent nearly the entire month of September rehabbing a hamstring strain.
Rollins was actually cleared to play last night, but was held out due to the wet conditions at Nationals Park.
Despite the fact that the Phillies have went 21-5 this month without him, having a experienced vet like Rollins that’s proven he’s clutch in the postseason is important.
(Sports Network) - While the Philadelphia Phillies have officially turned their eyes to playoff baseball, there are still some formalities to go through first.
One day after clinching both its fourth straight National League East title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, Philadelphia shoots for a sixth straight victory over the Washington Nationals this evening at Nationals Park.
The Phillies reached 94 victories with an 8-0 shutout of the Nationals in last night's opener of a three-game set, with Cy Young Award candidate Roy Halladay throwing a two-hitter. He faced the minimum over the first seven frames and struck out six to win his MLB-leading 21st game of the season.
Jayson Werth hit a solo homer and drove in four runs for the Phillies, who are 20-5 in September and joined the Atlanta Braves (1991-93, 1995-2005) and New York Giants (1921-24) as the only other NL teams to reach the postseason in four straight seasons.
"This is probably one of the best teams we've had over the last four years," Werth said. "We're right where we need to be."
That's solid praise for a team that won the 2008 World Series and will have home-field advantage as long as they remain in the playoffs, thanks to their record and the NL's victory in the All-Star Game.
Philadelphia figures to be a tough opponent in the upcoming postseason due to a pitching staff that features Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, who seeks an eighth straight winning decision this evening.
Oswalt is 7-1 with a 1.76 earned run average in 11 starts with Philadelphia since being acquired from Houston in late July. He has allowed one run or fewer in six of his last seven starts and carried a four-start winning streak into last Wednesday's outing versus Atlanta. The 33-year-old was excellent in a no-decision, giving up just one hit and a single walk with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings.
Oswalt is 13-13 with a 2.80 ERA in 31 combined starts this season, including a loss at Nationals Park in his Phillies debut on July 30. The right-hander was charged with five runs -- four earned -- over six innings, but has bested Washington twice since while allowing just a run over 13 innings.
Nats starter Jason Marquis was drilled for six runs while recording just a single out the last time he faced the Phillies, back on Sept. 17. The right- hander, who will pitch for Washington tonight, fell to 5-7 with a 5.60 ERA lifetime against Philadelphia, but bounced back in Wednesday's home outing versus Houston.
The 32-year-old gave up just a pair of runs on seven hits and one walk over six-plus innings of a no-decision against the Astros, and is 2-9 with a 7.18 ERA in 12 starts this year.
In his first season with Washington, Marquis will take one final stab at his first home victory of 2010, as he is 0-5 with a 7.57 ERA in six outings at Nationals Park.
The Phillies have won 11 of the 16 overall meetings with Washington this year, taking four of seven so far at Nationals Park.
Roy Halladay dominated and Jayson Werth mashed as the Philadelphia Phillies blanked the Washington Nationals and clinched their fourth straight NL East title.
Jayson Werth was the offensive start tonight driving in four runs on 3 hits including a solo HR in the second. As a team, the Phillies really poured it on in the top of the 9th plating 4 runs in the inning and putting this one out of reach.
Roy Halladay pitched yet another complete game shut out giving up just two hits and striking out 7. No National even reached second base and he faced just one man above the minimum. He needed just 97 pitches.
With their 94th win tonight, the Phils also clinched their highest win total since 1993 when they had 97. The Phils also clinched the best record in the National League and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With 3 runs in the top of the 9th, the Philadelphia Phillies have put this one out of reach. The champagne is on ice, the plastic is on the lockers and the Phillies are a half inning from clinching their fourth straight NL East title.
The inning started with a Carlos Ruiz double to right center. Wilson Valdez then struck out, but the ball got by the catcher and Carlos Ruiz took off for third but was thrown out. Ruiz came up limping, but walked off the field. That’ll be an injury worth keeping an eye on. Since the catcher threw to third, Valdez took first and promptly stole second and third
Roy Halladay nearly had his head taken off by a Joe Bisenus pitch, but ended up striking out for the second out of the inning.
That’s when things get rough for the Nats. Shane Victorino walked, Placido Polanco singled to center scoring Valdez. Chase Utley doubled to left center scoring Victorino and Polanco. Ryan Howard walked and the Nats decide to pull Bisenus.
Roy Halladay is out in the bottom of the 9th to close this thing out.
Roy Halladay has pitched 5 innings of scoreless, one hit ball.
It's fitting, then, that the former Cy Young Award winner gets a chance to pitch his team to a fourth straight division title and become baseball's first 21-game winner this evening in the opener of a three-game series against the hosting Washington Nationals.
Halladay spent his first 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, racking up 148 wins and a Cy Young Award in 2003. However, he never pitched in the postseason, something that will change this year after the two-time defending NL champion Phillies clinched a playoff berth on Sunday.
The Phillies could have won the NL East yesterday with a victory due to the second-place Atlanta Braves' loss to the Nationals that lowered their magic number to one, but Philadelphia lost its second straight contest to the New York Mets following an 11-game winning streak. Despite the 7-3 defeat, Philadelphia claimed at least a wild-card berth when San Diego lost to Cincinnati yesterday, and could still claim the division tonight with a loss if the Braves lose to Florida.
Winners of the 2008 World Series, the Phils seemed in good shape to win Sunday's finale given that Cole Hamels was set to make the start riding a five-game winning streak. However, the lefty, who had pitched to a 0.49 earned run average over his win streak, gave up five runs over four-plus innings to suffer the loss.
So now the club turns to Halladay in the opener of this season-ending six-game road trip. He picked up his fourth straight winning start with Tuesday's verdict over the Braves, becoming the first Phils pitcher to win 20 games since Steve Carlton in 1982 and the first righty to reach the mark since Robin Roberts in 1955.
"It's definitely special [to win 20 games], but it's secondary to me with us trying to get into the playoffs," said Halladay after holding the Braves to three runs over seven innings. "Finishing these last few weeks strong has been then priority. To be able to pitch in meaningful games at this point in the season makes all the difference."
The Phillies would love to clinch the division tonight and give the 33-year- old Halladay some rest down the stretch. He is 20-10 with a 2.53 ERA over 32 starts, but his ERA over his last six starts is 4.32 and his 241 2/3 innings pitched is tied with Seattle's Felix Hernandez for the most in baseball.
Halladay is 7-1 with a 2.20 ERA lifetime versus the Nationals. He beat them on Aug. 20 with seven scoreless innings for his second win in as many starts versus the club this year, and has allowed only one run with 14 strikeouts over 14 innings during that span.
Washington counters with one of its hotter pitchers in John Lannan, who is 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA over his last 10 starts and 8-7 with a 4.58 ERA in 24 starts overall. The left-hander got a no-decision versus the Astros on Tuesday, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings of work.
Set to pitch on his 26th birthday, Lannan will be looking for his first-ever win over the Phillies. In 10 lifetime starts against the club, he is 0-7 with a 6.06 ERA, though he did hold Philadelphia to a pair of runs over five innings of a no-decision on Aug. 1.
Washington begins the final leg of its 10-game homestand this evening and has won five of its last six games following Sunday's 4-2 win over the Braves. Ian Desmond had a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift his club.
Former All-Star Ryan Zimmerman missed his fourth straight game due to a right rib strain, however, and the Washington third baseman's return date is unknown.
"As long as there isn't any change, he won't play. It has to get a lot better for him to play," manager Jim Riggleman told the Nationals' website.
While Zimmerman could miss the rest of the season, the Phillies will be looking to get a former All-Star of their own into game shape. Jimmy Rollins pinch-hit in the eighth inning of last night's game, his first appearance since Sept. 8 due to a right hamstring strain.
Rollins stayed in the game at shortstop and says he will play tonight. The 2007 NL MVP is hitting .244 in 83 games with seven homers and 37 RBI this year.
The Phillies have won four straight over Washington and 10 of the 15 meetings overall this year. However, the two clubs have split six games so far at Nationals Park.
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