Nationals 5, Phillies 4, 13 innings

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WASHINGTON (AP)—A manager’s tirade. Sending the staff ace to the bullpen. Problems hitting in the clutch. As if the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t have enough to stew about, add in an extra-inning loss to the Washington Nationals.

The Phillies went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, left nine men on base and lost 5-4 to the Nationals on Felipe Lopez’s sacrifice fly in the 13th inning Wednesday night.

“Everything is bitter around here,” Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino said. “Sometimes you’d rather just walk out there and lose by 15 and walk off the field in the ninth. It’s so frustrating. We’re one hit away, we’re one pitch away. It seems like we’re one thing away from doing what we need to do, and it’s just not falling into place.”

Philadelphia dropped to an NL-worst 3-10, a game behind the Nationals (5-10) in the NL East.

Washington and Philadelphia are off to similar starts, but here’s the difference: The rebuilding Nationals were expected to struggle this season, while the Phillies were considered playoff contenders. In fact, Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed his club the team to beat in the NL East.

“I know when you lose games, it kind of becomes an everyday thing,” manager Charlie Manuel said before the game, when he also discussed his run-in Tuesday night with a radio talk-show host, “but if we can put a couple of good games together we could run off a streak and be OK.”

Francisco Rosario (0-1) was the 15th pitcher to enter the game, the seventh for the Phillies, when he went to the mound for the bottom of the 13th. He gave up a single to Chris Snelling, followed by a double to Michael Restovich, called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day.

That brought up Lopez, who lofted a ball to left field that was deep enough to score Snelling, ending the game after 4 hours, 16 minutes.

“We didn’t give up, and that’s the best thing about this team,” Snelling said. “We could have easily given up, but we didn’t.”

As fireworks went off beyond center field, the Nationals swarmed around Snelling, and chased Lopez across the field for congratulatory hugs.

Levale Speigner (1-0) earned his first major league victory with a perfect 13th.

The Phillies put what would have been the go-ahead run on third base in the ninth and 10th innings but couldn’t bring the runner home either time. They also got a man to second in the 11th—but no farther.

“The last couple nights, I’ve seen that we’re starting to get overanxious,” Manuel said.

The Nationals were even worse in the clutch, actually, going 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and leaving 13 men on. That included failing to score in the seventh after loading the bases with none out.

“If you can’t score in those situations and put teams away,” manager Manny Acta said, “you’re not going to win many ballgames.”

But Washington had built a 4-1 lead thanks to Brian Schneider’s first homer of the season, a three-run shot in the second inning off Adam Eaton.

That put Nationals starter Jason Bergmann in position for his first win since Sept. 15, 2005—until closer Chad Cordero allowed the tying run in the ninth. Bergmann gave up three runs over 6 1-3 innings, retiring 13 batters in a row in one stretch.

“The kid did an outstanding job,” Acta said.

Washington took a 4-3 lead into the ninth, when Cordero came on and promptly gave up singles to Pat Burrell and Wes Helms. Aaron Rowand sacrificed the runners to second and third. Carlos Ruiz’s groundout brought home the tying run before Cordero struck out pinch-hitter Abraham Nunez.

“You’ve got that lead in the ninth, you want to finish it out,” Schneider said. “But we picked Chad up tonight. He just needs to forget about it.”

Philadelphia could have had more then, and also in the 10th, when Matt Bourn flied out to left with runners on the corners and two outs.

Plus, in the seventh, with Washington clinging to a 4-3 lead, Rollins came up with two on and one out. A chance for the sort of timely hit Manuel lamented was missing, right? Instead, Micah Bowie got Rollins to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the inning—part of an 0-for-6 day for the shortstop.

Notes

RHP Eaton was hit on his right pinkie by a batted ball but stayed in the game. … Madson had a strained quadriceps after his first relief outing since September 2004, and Manuel wasn’t sure if the pitcher would be available Thursday.

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