Leading the NL East by 3 games, the Phillies started a very important home stand tonight. And while the Nationals are in last place, it seems that the Phillies, like the Braves last week, always struggle against this team. That was not the case tonight.
Roy Oswalt had a shaky start, allowing a run in the first inning. But after that, he got out his fly swatter and smacked the happy right out of the Nats. Over the next 5 innings, Oswalt did not allow another run. He struck out 7 and walked only one batter over 6 total innings.
Oswalt was even a threat with the bat tonight. In the bottom of the 1st, the Phillies went on a swatting spree, knocking Nats pitcher Jason Marquis all over the yard. Of 6 singles in the inning, one of them was from Oswalt who also collected his first RBI of the year on that hit. Later, Oswalt reached base again on a Nats error.
After 2 runs had scored in the first with one out, Wilson Valdez tried his best to hit into his 20th double play of the year. But his attempt was thwarted by the 2nd base umpire who got nicked with the ball, which then ricocheted away from the Nats fielder. One run scored before it was called a dead ball and the Phillies went on to score 6 runs in the inning. Who says umpires cannot be helpful?
Every starter in the game got a hit, except poor Chase Utley who had a hit stolen when first baseman Adam Dunn did a belly flop on a ball smacked up the 1st base line. It wasn’t pretty, but it was an out. It was also one of the few bright spots for the Nats who must have had sore backsides after getting swatted all night.
Although Valdez, with his stellar defense, prefers the head shot for a quick kill:
Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez led the offense with 2 hits and 2 RBI each; one of Werth’s hits was a solo homer. Carlos Ruiz also had 2 RBI on a home run in the 8th that extended the Phillies lead to 9-1. The bullpen held down the lead so the Phillies will remain 3 games in front of the Braves.
Tomorrow night at 7:05pm, the Phillies will try to repeat tonight’s performance with Kyle Kendrick on the mound.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography