(Sports Network) - Citizens Bank Park took on a symbolic meaning Sunday night when the unified crowd broke out into chants of "USA! USA! USA!" upon learning of the death of the face of terrorism from the last decade.
Two nights later and it is likely back to business as usual for the Philadelphia Phillies, who are prepared to greet former teammate and current Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth for the first time in the City of Brotherly Love.
The opener of this three-game homestand marks Werth's first return to Philadelphia since he signed a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals this past offseason. Werth hit .282 with 95 homers and 300 RBI in 543 regular-season games with the Phillies from 2007-10, helping them win just the second championship in team history in 2008.
Philadelphia did get its first look at Werth down at Nationals Park on April 12-14, winning two of three to give it a win in 32 of the past 42 meetings. Werth hit .273 in that series, stealing a base and connecting on a home run while scoring three runs.
Werth will try to reverse Washington's luck in Philadelphia as it has lost 18 of its past 21 trips to Citizens Bank Park, which became a scene of triumph on Sunday night even though the Phillies lost a 2-1 contest to the rival Mets in 14 innings on Ronny Paulino's RBI double in the extra frame. The crowd became more animated and loud throughout the game once the fate of Osama bin Laden, architect of the September 11 terrorist attacks, had been killed.
"I was wondering why everyone was chanting, 'USA,'" Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino told his team's website. "It was the buzz around the dugout that Osama had been killed. I think everybody on the field was wondering what was going on."
The Phillies were coming off an 18-win April that set a club record, surpassing the 1993 team, but began May by having a three-game win streak stopped. Still, it was just the team's third loss in 11 games.
The Nationals come into this game looking to move above the .500 mark for the first time since they were 9-8 on April 20. They have won four of their last five overall to climb to 14-14, winning the finale of Sunday's four-game series with the Giants, 2-0.
"He was outstanding and we had good defense behind him," said Washington manager Jim Riggleman. "A real clean game."
Riggleman hopes that veteran Livan Hernandez can duplicate Gorzelanny's outing tonight, though the right-hander's efforts last time out weren't terrible either. Hernandez gave up three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over a season-high eight innings, striking out five on Thursday to beat the Mets and win for the third time in his last four starts.
Hernandez is 3-2 with a 3.23 earned run average in six starts this year and improved to 12-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 28 games versus the Phillies after beating them on April 12 with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in which he fanned a season-high six.
Hernandez draws a streaking Cole Hamels, with the Phillies hurler having won three straight decisions and two starts in a row since his season debut debacle back in early April. He defeated Arizona last time out on Wednesday, giving up three run on four hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings of work in an 8-4 win.
The 27-year-old lefty, now 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA on the season, is 9-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 career starts versus the Nationals and did not face them back in D.C.