Fresh off a one-run victory, the Phillies try for their first series win in nearly a month as they wrap up a three-game series with the first-place Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies beat the Nationals 1-0 on Saturday for just their sixth win in 20 games. David Bell’s sacrifice fly drove home the winning run in the ninth inning for Philadelphia, which is in position to win its first series since sweeping Milwaukee from June 10-12.
“A lot of times a 1-0 game can give you a bigger lift than a blowout,” Bell said.
Washington leads the majors with 24 one-run wins, including Friday’s 8-7 victory, while the Phillies are just 10-11 in one-run contests.
“If we take them two out of three, that should help us,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Carlos Baerga had three of the six hits for the Nationals, who have lost four of six.
“You can’t expect to win if you don’t score runs,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”
The Phillies will send Jon Lieber to the mound Sunday. Lieber allowed just one hit in one scoreless inning Tuesday before he was struck on the right elbow by a line drive.
The 35-year-old right-hander had lost his previous four starts, allowing 18 earned runs in 22 1-3 innings.
“His delivery’s been a little quick,” Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “John needs his command. He’s been improving on his side work and hopefully he’s got it back together and will give a good performance here.”
Lieber will face Washington’s Esteban Loaiza, who won his third straight start Tuesday, allowing one earned run and six hits in eight innings of a 3-2 victory over Pedro Martinez and the New York Mets. Loaiza has won four of his last five starts after enduring a string of no-decisions with little run support early in the season.
“What I did today was amazing,” Loaiza said Tuesday. “I just hit both of my spots on the inside corner and the outside. I threw all of my pitches for strikes and did what I wanted to do with the ball.”