The Phils win their first home opener since 2005 as they increase their winning streak to four games by coming from behind to defeat the Nationals, 7-5.
The Nationals took the lead in the second as, with nobody out, Josh Willingham hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the year, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. The Nats would then extend their lead in the fourth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Ivan Rodriguez hits an RBI single, scoring Cristian Guzman, who had earlier singled and had moved up to second when Adam Dunn was hit by the pitch, making it 2-0 Nats, while sending Dunn, who had been hit by a pitch, up to second base. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, thanks to a walk to Adam Kennedy, moving Rodriguez over to second base, and still with two men out, Nats’ starter Jason Marquis helped his own cause by hitting a two-run double, knocking in both Dunn and Rodriguez, giving the Nats a 4-0 lead, while sending Kennedy over to third. The Phils would start their comeback in their half of the fourth as, with two men on, and with one out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled and had moved up to second on a Chase Utley walk, cutting the Nats’ lead down to 4-1, while Utley, who had just walked, moved up to third. Jayson Werth then followed by hitting into an RBI force out, 5-4, wiping out Howard at second base, while Utley scored, making it a 4-2 Nats’ lead. The Phils would strike again in the fifth as, with two men on base, and with one men out, Juan Castro, who was starting the game in place of the injured Jimmy Rollins, hits an RBI double, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second base on a force attempt throwing error on Cole Hamels’ bunt attempt, making it 4-3 Nats, while sending Hamels, who had reached first base on Rodriguez’s throwing error, over to third. Polanco then gives the Phils the lead with a two-run single, scoring both Hamels and Castro, making it 5-4 Phils. Utley then makes it a 7-5 Phils’ lead with a two-run shot off the foul pole, his second home run of the season. That would end up being the final score as the bullpen would come in to pitch three and a third-innings of shut out ball, with Ryan Madson recording his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Cole Hamels gets the win as he has another so-so performance as he pitches five and two-third innings, giving up four runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter, while striking out six. His record is now 2-0 with a high ERA of 5.06. Chad Durbin records his third hold as he pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Jose Contreras records his first hold of the year as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two batters. Danys Baez records his second hold of the season as he pitches a scoreless inning, walking a batter. Ryan Madson records his second save of the season as he pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out a batter. Jason Marquis took the lost as he pitches only four and a third innings, giving up seven runs, only six of which were earned, on six hits and two walks, while striking out one. His record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 12.96. Jesse English, Tyler Walker, Sean Burnett and Miguel Batista would combine for three and two-thirds shut out innings, giving up just two hits (English (1), Burnett (1)) and one walk (Batista), while striking out two Phils (English (1), Batista (1)).
The Phils had only eight hits in the game, with Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard both leading the team with two hits each, with Polanco’s two hits being singles, as he knocked in two runs, while Howard’s hits were a single and a double, knocking in a run. Juan Castro, who was in the game because Jimmy Rollins had hurt himself before the start of the game, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz all followed with a hit each, with Castro’s hit being a double, knocking in a run, while Utley’s hit was a two-run home run off of the foul pole. Werth knocked in the Phils’ other run on a force out, before getting a single, after which he took himself out of the game because of a sore left hip.
The Phils (6-1, 1st) will continue their three games series with the Nats (3-4, 4th) with a night game Wednesday night. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 11.25), who is coming off a bad outing a week ago against these same Nats, as he received a no-decision on April 8, going only four innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while striking out two, in the Phils’ 6-5 lost. He will be trying to redeem himself tomorrow night. The Nats’ will counter with Craig Stammen (0-0, 7.20), who also received a no-decision on April 8, as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on nine hits, while striking out one, in the Nats’ 6-5 win. He will be trying for his first win of the season. The Phils hope to make it five wins in a row while continuing their hot hitting, although now with Rollins and Werth being injured.