Nationals 6, Phillies 0

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Shawn Hill couldn’t get a grip on his curveball, had to rely almost exclusively on his sinker and cringed with embarrassment when he threw a wild pitch to the backstop netting.

Yet the right-hander had enough to handcuff the Philadelphia Phillies for seven innings en route to his first victory in almost two years.

Hill allowed two hits, Jose Guillen had a two-run double and the Washington Nationals beat the Phillies 6-0 Sunday.

“It was a very good outing today—all except his pitch count, which was up high and early. … It was just what we needed today,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.

Hill (1-1) walked three and struck out four in winning for the first time since July 4, 2004, with Montreal, his only previous major league victory. The right-hander didn’t pitch in 2005 after undergoing ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in September 2004.

“Coming off the rehab, I had to go through some hurdles there,” said Hill. “You learn to calm yourself down, compose yourself to get through one hitter at a time instead of jumping ahead.”

The only Phillies hitter to have success against Hill was Ryan Howard, who singled to left in the second and doubled to right in the fourth. Howard went to third when Hill, attempting a curve, threw a one-out wild pitch to the backstop in the fourth, but was stranded.

“The balls that were coming out were really chalky,” Hill said. “I don’t know whether it was how they were rubbed up or not, but I had to rub them up a quite a bit. The curveball was slipping out all the time.”

Guillen, activated off the 15-day disabled list the previous day, went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs on Sunday in his first start since May 25.

“The first one was a real confidence-builder, the first time up today,” Robinson said of Guillen. “To get the big hit there and get us started in the third inning was a big confidence-builder. … To get a lead early was a good feeling,” Robinson said.

Bill Bray pitched the eighth and Saul Rivera worked the ninth to complete the combined three-hitter for Washington’s second shutout of the year, and the first this season against Philadelphia. The Phillies finished an 11-game road trip 6-5.

“In order to be a contending team, we’ve got to play better and I think our players know that,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I don’t know if it takes improvement or our just playing consistent and getting the most out of our talent or what.”

After taking three of four against the Phillies, the Nationals have won six of seven series.

“We’re all here to help each other out,” said Washington’s Robert Fick, who hit his first homer of the season. “I think we’re coming together as a ballclub.”

The Nationals, winners of nine of 11, scored all four runs off Cole Hamels (1-1) with two outs. He allowed six hits in five innings, walked two and struck out a season-high eight.

Washington went up 3-0 in the second. With two outs, Alfonso Soriano walked and stole second, Royce Clayton walked and both scored on Guillen’s double down the left-field line.

Nick Johnson followed with an RBI double that left fielder Pat Burrell broke in for and couldn’t recover before the catchable ball sailed over his head.

The Nationals struck again with two down in the fourth. Brendan Harris led off with a double and moved to third on Robert Fick’s single. After Hamels struck out two hitters, Soriano lined a run-scoring single to left.

Fick and pinch-hitter Daryle Ward hit solo homers off reliever Clay Condrey in the eighth.


The Phillies went 10-10 in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. … Howard has reached base safely in 53 of 62 games. … Before singling in the fourth, Soriano was on an 0-for-10 skid. … Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreu extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an eighth-inning single. … Ward hit his third pinch home run of the season, and eighth of his career.

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