Lastings Milledge revealed he had lost his cockiness and swagger, but now it’s on the way back after a pair of doubles.
Start with Redding (6-3), who threw 6 1-3 goose-egg innings, an echo of his performance on April 2, when he tossed seven in a 1-0 win—the only other time the Phillies have been blanked this season. He didn’t have his best stuff this time, but he stayed afloat by spacing the outs perfectly. The Nos. 2, 3 and 6 hitters (Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Geoff Jenkins) went a combined 6-for-6 over the first four innings, but Nos. 4 and 5 (Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell) didn’t get a hit all night in eight at-bats.
“By no means do I think it was a quality effort as far as making good pitches, but the results were there,” Redding said. “I feel comfortable in my own skin, which is something I haven’t been in a while. I know what I’m capable of doing. I know when I’m not feeling good, I can go out there and have games like this.”
Then there was Milledge, who cued a two-run double to the opposite field in the third inning to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead. He followed with a solid double in the fifth. That gave him twice the number of extra-base hits he had accumulated in the previous 13 games.
“You know what? I’ve been too low-key,” said Milledge, who raised his average to .241. “I really haven’t had any fire ever since I was going through my funk. I didn’t have any cockiness when I’m out there, no swagger, no nothing. I think that was more of the problem more than rolling over or not getting good pitches. I just didn’t have any swagger, didn’t have any confidence.
“That’s part of my game since I’ve been in the big leagues. Every time I go up there I think I’m the best player out there, so it’s been kind of rough. I came out there with fire today.”
Finally, there was never a reason to stop watching Zimmerman, who save saved a run or two with a quick stab to stop a double down the left-field line off the bat of Burrell in the first inning, charged a two-hopper barehanded to throw out the swift Victorino in the fifth, then made a tough catch look routine when pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hit a foul pop-up in the seventh.
“We take him for granted at third base,” manager Manny Acta said. “We don’t get amazed every time he makes those plays, but those are tremendous plays.”
Zimmerman hit one of six Nationals doubles—matching the team’s season-high — on a 2-for-3 night that raised his average to .251 as he slowly but steadily emerges from an awful early season slump.
“Things are starting to turn around,” he said.
Brett Myers (2-5) came up with another fruitless road outing for the Phillies. He allowed eight hits and three runs over six innings, but that was an improvement for a pitcher who entered the game with an 0-3 record and an 8.18 ERA away from Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies, opening a seven-game road trip, stranded nine men on base to lose their season-high third straight. They’ve also dropped seven of 11.
“It’s my job to go out there and match what the other pitcher did, and I didn’t do that,” Myers said. “We had him on the ropes a couple of times. They had me on the ropes, but they were able to capitalize.”
Nationals LHP Matt Chico will start Wednesday in place of RHP Shawn Hill, who had a cortisone shot in his right elbow on Saturday. … Washington’s Dmitri Young, who has spent much of the season on the DL with a sprained back, played first base for the first time this season. … Nationals OF Austin Kearns missed his second straight game with a sore elbow was scheduled for an X-ray. … Myers was struck in the leg on a hit by Rob Mackowiak in the fifth inning but remained in the game. … This was the 3,000th victory (vs. 3,230 losses) for the Nationals franchise; 2,755 of them came as the Montreal Expos.