Lost in the light of Domonic Brown’s first career walk-off hit and Ryan Howard’s first home run in 71 plate appearances, was a fairly gritty effort by John Lannan.
The Phillies lefthander, making his first start since suffering a strained quad tendon in his left knee on April 17, pitched five innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs in Monday’s 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. He struck out four and walked one.
Lannan threw 92 pitches and seemed to struggle in the beginning but he kept fighting and finished by retiring the heart of the order in a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
In the fifth, he got Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and former Phillie Jayson Werth all to ground out.
“It was huge for the bullpen and myself, having a 1-2-3 inning under my belt,” Lannan said.
He admitted that the ending was much smoother than the beginning.
“I battled for the first couple of inning and looking at the fifth inning is something to look forward to,” he said.
Lannan insists that that there was no extra motivation pitching against his former teammates.
“I had a job to do no matter who I was facing,” he said.
Actually he was glad to be doing his job after being inactive for two months.
“There was a lot of hard work to get back to this point,” he said. “I am happy be back.”
With Jonathan Pettibone struggling the Phillies could sure use some dependable pitching at the back of the rotation.
“I felt like he did a pretty good job for first time back,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Again, it was enough to keep the Phillies in a game.
“It’s progress,” Lannan said. “In the fifth inning I felt pretty good.”
And he will draw from the fifth inning during his next start, hoping that he is more comfortable and be able to throw fewer pitches and more innings.