Nationals 7, Phillies 6

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies lost more than a game.

Chase Utley, Philadelphia’s All-Star second baseman, broke his right hand in Thursday’s 7-6 defeat to the Washington Nationals.

Utley was hit in the fifth inning by John Lannan, who was making his major league debut. Utley finished the game, going 2-for-4, but X-rays afterward showed he broke a bone in the hand.

Utley planned to see a specialist on Friday to determine the first step in his recovery.

“As breaks go, it’s not that bad of a break,” Utley said. “It’s definitely disappointing.”

Utley, batting .336 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs, didn’t think he’d be sidelined for a month.

“I think it will be sooner than that,” he said.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Abraham Nunez likely will replace Utley at second base.

“Chase is a big part of this team,” Manuel said. “He’s one of our best players, both on defense and offense. We’re going to fight our way through this.”

Jesus Flores hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth as the Nationals avoided a three-game sweep.

Ryan Howard homered, and Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBIs. The Phillies entered with a five-game winning streak, which had matched their season high.

Philadelphia led 5-2 before Washington rallied. Felipe Lopez hit a two-run, two-out single off J.C. Romero in the seventh, and Flores homered in the eighth off Mike Zagurski—Romero’s second of the season and first since July 1 off Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm.

“Jesus has gotten some big hits and has played tremendous defense in his limited time for us,” Washington manager Manny Acta said. “We think he’s going to be a front-line catcher in the big leagues in the future. He has that kind of talent.”

Ryan Zimmerman grounded to third leading off the eighth but reached on a throwing error by Wes Helms. Jose Mesa (0-2), pitching in his 1,000th major league game, walked Austin Kearns with one out and Flores connected with two outs.

Flores, who has started 21 games at catcher, has hit safely in a career-high five games. He had a two-run double against the Phillies on Wednesday.

“That comes from playing every day,” Flores said. “The last two days, I felt like I’m playing every day. I just want to get comfortable and every time I play and make good swings, I feel more comfortable.”

Jon Rauch (6-2) pitched two scoreless innings, and Chad Cordero finished for his 20th save in 27 chances. Chris Coste hit an RBI grounder, and a two-out walk to Carlos Ruiz put runners at the corners before Nunez grounded out.

Lannan was ejected after hitting Utley and Howard with pitches in consecutive at-bats in the fifth. Acta also was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

“His explanation was that Howard hit a home run in his previous at-bat and then he got hit in his next at-bat,” Acta said. “I was very surprised. I don’t think the kid is going to come up here and start throwing at people.”

Lannan allowed three runs and six hits in the first four innings. After getting the first out of the fifth, Lannan hit Utley and then hit Howard on the right shoulder.

“I was pretty shocked,” Lannan said of the ejection. “Those were two fastballs that just got away from me. I’ve had to make adjustments at each of my stops. This was just a little weirder.”

Manuel didn’t think the hit batters were intentional.

“I give the guy the benefit of the doubt, I do not think he was throwing at anyone,” Manuel said.

Lannan was replaced by Chris Schroder, who gave up a two-run single to Burrell that put the Phillies ahead 5-2. Lannan was called up by Washington after he went a combined 12-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 20 games with three minor league teams this season.

“It was a tough draw for the kid,” Acta said. “It’s a tough lineup. It’s a packed house. He looked a little rattled out there. But, he didn’t embarrass himself and he didn’t embarrass the team. It’s certainly something for him to build on.”

Phillies starter Adam Eaton gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.

“Eaton got tired. He ran out of gas,” Manuel said. “It was hot, and he was sweating a lot.”

Dmitri Young and Austin Kearns hit consecutive RBI singles in the first, but Philadelphia closed to 2-1 in the bottom half on Utley’s run-scoring single.

Howard put the Phillies ahead 3-2 in the third with his 29th homer, a two-run drive. Howard has 13 homers and 34 RBIs off left-handers—both tops in the majors.

Notes

Mesa became the 11th player to pitch in 1,000 games. … Howard has 66 RBIs in his last 55 games, raising his NL-leading total to 85. … Burrell had a pair of singles and a double and is batting .440 (22-for-50) with 15 RBIs in his last 17 games. … The crowd of 43,413 was the Phillies’ 17th home sellout this year.

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