The Phillies’ Joe Blanton loses his first start since being traded to the Phils, as he and the relief corps were the victims of several home runs launched by the Nationals as the Phils fall to the Nationals, 8-2.
The Nationals took a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Adam Dunn hit a three-run home run, his third home run of the season, knocking in both Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman, who had both earlier singled, while the two had moved up to third and second base respectively on Zimmerman’s single, as Pedro Feliz committed a catch error on the play. Those would turn out to be the only runs that Joe Blanton would give up as he proceeded to pitch the Phillies’ starters first quality start as he kept the Nationals scoreless for the next five innings. The Phillies, meantime, proceeded to cut down the Nats’ lead. They first made it 3-1 in the fourth as Raul Ibanez, with two men outs, singled in Chase Utley, who had earlier singled and had moved over to second base on Ryan Howard’s ground out to first. The Phils then cut the lead down to 3-2 in the fifth as Jimmy Rollins hit a sacrifice fly, knocking in Lou Marson, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Blanton’s sacrifice bunt. But, the bullpen, this time, would be unable to keep the game close. In the seventh, Chad Durbin gave up a lead-off, solo home run to Josh Willingham, Willingham’s first home run of the year, making it 4-2 Nats. Then in the eighth, Jack Taschner would give up four runs to the Natonals. Elijah Dukes started things off by hitting a lead-off, solo home run, his second hme run of the season, increasing the Nationals’ lead to 5-2. Three batters later, Alberto Gonzalez made it 6-2 Nationals by hitting a solo home run with two outs, his first home run of the year. Two batters later, Anderson Hernandez made it 7-2 Nats with an RBI single, knocking in Roger Bernadina, who had earlier walked and then stole second base. Zimmerman increased the Nationals’ lead to 8-2 by bringing home Hernandez, who had moved up to second base on Johnson’s walk, while Johnson would move up to second. That would end up being the final score as Joel Hanrahan came in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Nationals, giving them their first win of the season.
Joe Blanton took the lost, his first since his trade last year to the Phils from the Oakland A’s, as he pitched six solid innings, giving up just three runs on eight hits and one walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 0-1 with a still high ERA of 9.00. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on a hit and two walks. Jack Taschner pitched an inning, getting smoked for four runs on four hits and two walks as he struck out two. J.A. Happ pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Shairon Martis picked up the win for the Nationals, as he went six and one-thirds innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out one. His record is now 1-0 with a 4.82 ERA. Mike Hinckley pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Joe Beimel pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Joel Hanrahan also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with a strike out, ending the game for the Nationals.
The Phillies had only five hits in the game, with both Raul Ibanez and Lou Marson collecting two hits. Ibanez, who raised his average to .303, went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Marson, catching in his first game since being called up because of Carlos Ruiz’s injury, went two for three, including a double, as he scored a run. Chase Utley had the other Phils’ hit, a single, as he went 1 for 3 with a walk, scoring a run, as his average dropped to .393. Jimmy Rollins knocked in the other Phils’ run with a sacrifice fly. The Phils other .300 hitters at the moment, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz saw their batting averages drop as they all took the collar (.313, .313 and .308 respectively).
The Phillies (4-4, 3rd) now come home for a seven-games home stand, starting with a four-games series with the San Diego Padres (7-3, T-1st National League West). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin after 7 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (0-1, 17.18), who is coming off a rocky start against the Colorado Rockies last friday night. He gave up seven runs on eleven hits and a walk, while striking out only one batter in three and two-thirds innings of work, in the Phils’ 10-3 lost. He will be trying to recover from that poor start. The Padres will counter with Chris Young (2-0, 1.38), who is coming off a win against the San Francisco Giants on April 12, where he pitched seven strong innings, giving up no runs on four hits, while striking out seven, in the Padres’ 6-1 win. He will be looking to increase his record to 3-0 at the Phillies’ expense. The Phillies will come home, preparing several tributes in the memory of the late Harry Kalas, while trying to see if they can get back onto the winning track.