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May 22, 2015

Phils drop first game of series to Nationals, 2-1

Max Scherzer threw eight strong innings, while Sean O'Sullivan countered with six in the loss

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper hit another home run and Max Scherzer had another dominant outing to help the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Friday night for their sixth straight win.

Harper's homer, his 11th in 14 games, tied the score 1-1 in the second inning and Ian Desmond's RBI double drove in Scherzer with the go-ahead run in the sixth. The NL East-leading Nationals are 18-4 since April 28.

Scherzer (5-3) allowed four hits over eight innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He retired 19 of 22 after Odubel Franco's RBI double in the second — including the final eight batters. Over his last four starts, Scherzer is 4-0 with 33 strikeouts.

Drew Storen got the last three outs for his 13th save in 14 chances. He allowed two singles in the ninth, but got the final two batters.

The Phillies have lost three of four after winning six in a row. Sean O'Sullivan (1-3) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.

Scherzer wasn't totally untouchable in his third start this season against Philadelphia — three of the four hits he allowed were doubles. But the right-hander avoided big innings.

He also helped his own cause with his bat and legs. With the score tied at 1-1, Scherzer led off the sixth inning with a clean single to right. One out later, he raced home from first base on Desmond's double.

O'Sullivan went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two earlier starts against Washington this season, both coming in April. Harper homered in each game. The right fielder did it for the third time in his first at-bat Friday.

The Phillies opened the scoring with two wall-smacking doubles in the second inning for a 1-0 lead. Harper immediately countered leading off the bottom of the inning, poking a 1-2 pitch into the left field stands for his 11th home run in 45 at-bats.

The Phillies scored four or more runs in seven of their previous eight games.

Chase Utley had two hits in the second stop of a three-city, nine-game road trip.

Washington improved to 5-3 against Philadelphia this season with three wins coming in games started by Scherzer.


Phillies: OF Grady Sizemore went 0 for 4 in his return to the starting lineup for the first time in three games.

Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon (oblique, left knee) upped his workout regimen Thursday, including his first batting session against a live arm. Manager Matt Williams remains uncertain about a specific timeline for the Silver Slugger's return. "He's in the early stages, certainly, but he's progressing, which is a good sign." ... RHP Casey Janssen joined the active roster for the first time Friday. Washington reinstated the reliever following a six-game rehab stint while recovering from right shoulder inflammation that developed during spring training. Sammy Solis (left shoulder inflammation) was placed on the 15-day disabled list.


Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.24 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA over his last three starts. He is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts against Washington this season.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 5.98) hasn't consistently performed up to his usual high standards since allowing one run in seven innings against the Phillies on April 19. Since then, the right-hander is 2-3 with a 7.14 ERA, including a five-inning victory Sunday at San Diego.