Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Phillies' winning streak ends at five

Cole Hamels. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Cole Hamels. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Phillies made a comeback but it wasn't enough to end their season-high-tying five-game winning streak.

After trailing 3-0, the Phillies extended the game to extra innings before the Nationals won a 5-3 decision in 10 innings on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Nationals scored twice against lefthander Jake Diekman in the 10th inning.

Nationals closer Rafael Soriono earned the save with a scoreless bottom of the inning.

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The Phillies, who entered the game with the longest current winning streak in the majors, fell to 42-52, nine games behind both the Nationals and Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Diekman walked Denard Span to open the 10th inning. With one out, Jayson Werth hit a fielder's choice grounder to Chase Utley at second, and his flip to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the force was wide.

Diekman struck out Adam LaRoche for the second out, but Ryan Zimmerman made it 4-3 with an RBI single to center. Werth scored the fifth run on a wild pitch.

After the inning, Diekman was ejected by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher.

Werth did plenty of damage against his former teammates.

He had an RBI groundout in the first inning and a two-run homer to right in the sixth off former teammate Cole Hamels.

While it wasn't surprising that Werth came through in the clutch, his history against Hamels didn't suggest it would happen on this evening.

Werth entered the game 3 for 22 (.136) with a home run and four RBIs and six strikeouts against the Phillies lefthander.

Meanwhile, Hamels' counterpart, Washington righthander Stephen Strasburg, never found his rhythm despite striking out nine.

Strasburg did not survive the sixth inning, when the Phillies scored twice.

Rollins opened the sixth with an infield hit, a grounder off the glove of diving first baseman LaRoche. Utley hit a single to right, putting runners on first and second. After Ryan Howard flew out to left, Rollins and Utley executed a double steal.

Marlon Byrd then hit a one-out RBI single to left and took second base on the throw home. Following a Cody Asche strikeout, Strasburg walked Cameron Rupp.

That finished Strasburg's evening. He threw 111 pitches in 52/3 innings. Lefty Jerry Blevins then retired Ben Revere on a fly ball to left.

In the seventh inning, Domonic Brown, who was not in the starting lineup because he was sick, opened the inning with a pinch-hit single off Drew Storen. Brown then left the game for pinch-runner Tony Gwynn Jr., who would eventually reach third, but was left stranded when Utley popped out to left to end the inning.

Revere tied the game at 3 in the eighth on an RBI single off Tyler Clippard after Asche singled and Rupp walked with two outs. Before Revere's hit, the Phillies had been 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez struck out to end the inning.

Hamels didn't earn a decision, but the Phillies lefthander continued an impressive streak against the Eastern Division rivals.

Hamels lasted seven innings, allowing three runs (all earned) while striking out five and walking three. He needed 117 pitches to complete his evening's work.

That meant that Hamels has now allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last 11 starts against the Nationals.


Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
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