Corey Lidle looks to end Philadelphia’s slide in the NL East standings as the last-place Phillies resume a three-game series with the division-leading Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have lost two straight and 14 of 19 to fall into the division cellar, 9 1/2 games behind the Nationals.
The Nationals nearly wasted a five-run lead in the middle innings, giving up three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth. But All-Star closer Chad Cordero threw a scoreless ninth for his league-leading 31st save. Washington earned its major-league leading 24th one-run victory.
The Nationals had dropped three of four to the Mets for their first series loss at home since April.
Ryan Drese continued to turn his season around since the Nationals claimed him off waivers in early June, pitching one-hit until he allowed three runs in the fifth.
Rookie first baseman Ryan Howard paced the Phillies with two doubles and three RBIs. Howard came close to tying the game in the ninth inning when his deep fly ball was caught by Brad Wilkerson against the center-field wall.
“I thought it was gone when he hit it,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said. “I said it was a home run.”
Lidle, who is 8-6 with a 3.92 ERA, will try to stay unbeaten against the Nationals franchise. The Phillies right-hander is 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA in seven career games against Washington, including four starts.
Lidle gave up three runs in six innings to beat the Nationals 5-4 on April 25. He’s 6-3 in 10 starts overall since May 17.