Phillies win 5th straight; Nats lose 9th in a row

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WASHINGTON (AP)— The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t shown any ill effects from losing five of six last week and falling out of first place in the NL East.

They have simply refocused, played some of their best baseball of the season and moved back on top of the division.

Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth homered, and the Phillies stretched their winning streak to five games with an 8-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

The toughest part of the 1-5 streak came when the Mets took two of three from the Phillies in New York. The Phillies fell out of first place for the first time since June 1, but they realized what needed to be return to first place and have won every game since.

“Coming off of those (games), it wasn’t like the world was over,” Rollins said. “If we lose, go out there and win tomorrow. If we win, go out there and win tomorrow. Nothing changed in the attitude from winning and losing.”

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he isn’t much for meetings, but he called a closed-door session then, and the Phillies bounced back to take the last two games of the series with Atlanta before sweeping the Nationals to extend Washington’s losing streak to nine straight.

“The way we went out there playing is very good,” Rollins said. “We’re getting hits with two outs, runners in scoring position and we’re getting good quality starts. We’re back to the way we need to be playing.”

Manuel said he’s hoping the Philadelphia offense is getting back in a groove. The Phillies scored 18 runs in the three wins over the Nationals after getting 22 in the two victories against the Braves.

“It’s good to win three in a row,” Manuel said. “I felt like we hit the ball pretty good all three days in here, and we hit the ball those last two at home (against Atlanta). That’s a good sign.”

The Phillies took a one-game lead over idle New York in the NL East.

Washington tied this season’s longest losing streak and its the worst since the Nationals moved from Montreal in 2005.

Rollins was hitting just .200 against Washington this season (7-for-35) before going 2-for-4 with a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (9-5) earned his first win since July 1, giving up two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Werth’s solo homer and Rollins’ RBI groundout helped the Phillies go up 3-0 in the second. Rollins hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give Philadelphia a 5-2 lead.

Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell added RBI singles in a three-run sixth that gave the Phillies an 8-2 lead. Washington helped the Phillies by making three errors, two of which led to runs off starter John Lannan (6-11).

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is day-to-day with a bruised hand after Kendrick hit him with a pitch in the third.

Zimmerman came out in the fourth, He recently spent 48 games on the disabled list with shoulder problems.

“We can’t sit here and pout,” Zimmerman said. “We can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to show up and play and just have some pride.”

The Nationals announced after the game that they released infielder Felipe Lopez and catchers Paul Lo Duca and Johnny Estrada, who had been designated for assignment July 22. Lo Duca was a $5 million free-agent signing this past offseason, but injuries slowed him this year.

Washington will reactivate outfielder Elijah Dukes from the 15-day disabled list, recall infielder Emilio Bonafacio from Triple-A Columbus and add infielder Alberto Gonzales on Friday. The Nationals obtained Gonzales from the New York Yankees on Thursday for right-hander Jhonny Nunez.

Notes

The Nationals went 5-19 in July. … The Phillies have homered in 22 of their last 26 games against the Nationals. … Philadelphia OF Shane Victorino got his eighth bunt hit of the season in the fourth, one of two infield hits he had in the game.

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