Today is National Draft Day:

Bats coming alive for the Nats, who thump Phils

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Catcher Wilson Ramos returned from the disabled list May 7.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, now playing left field, came back Tuesday, and Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams hopes to have outfielder Bryce Harper back in the fold by early next month.

Slowly but surely, the Nationals' everyday lineup is rounding into form.

Washington collected 11 hits and beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-4 Wednesday. The Nationals won the first game of the three-game series 7-0 Monday, and they have scored 34 runs in the past five games.

"Hitting is contagious. That is really the easy answer," said Washington center fielder Denard Span, who had two doubles Wednesday to lift his average to .284. "It has been a lot of fun for us.

"We are swinging the bat well. I have been swinging it for a couple of weeks now. I am the leadoff hitter; it is my job to get us going. When everybody pulls together, we do pretty good."

Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 in seven innings, and third baseman Anthony Rendon had three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs in a game that was delayed one hour, 48 minutes by rain.

The announced crowd was 33,614 fans, but a few hundred remained after the seventh-inning rain delay. The game that ended at nearly midnight EDT.

The Nationals clinched a fifth consecutive series win against the Phillies at Nationals Park. Philadelphia lost for the 11th time in 15 games.

Strasburg (5-4) improved to 5-1 at home after giving up seven hits and four runs (two earned). He didn't issue a walk while throwing more changeups.

"I go off of what I see," Strasburg said. "I try to go out there and do my job. That is the bottom line. Guys came up big tonight. It made it much easier."

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said, "With Strasburg, we had some good approaches and hard-hit balls for outs."

Second baseman Danny Espinosa also had two hits for the Nationals, and first baseman Ryan Howard and third baseman Reid Brignac each had two hits for the Phillies.

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (3-5) gave up 10 hits and eight runs in six innings. He threw 104 pitches for a club that played 57 innings in five games last weekend against the New York Mets.

"With men on base, he had problems getting his stuff down in the zone," Sandberg said of Burnett.

The Nationals scored four runs in the fourth to break up a scoreless game.

Espinosa hit a two-run double to right with the bases loaded and one out to give Washington a 2-0 lead, missing a grand slam by a few feet.

Strasburg then hit an RBI single up the middle, and Span drove in a run on a fielder's choice to make it 4-0.

The Phillies got on the board in the fifth on an RBI double to left by Brignac. The double was over the head of Zimmerman, making his second career start in left.

Brignac then scored as shortstop Jimmy Rollins (who fanned four times) reached on an error by Strasburg, who could not handle a throw from first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Rendon hit a solo homer -- his second home run in as many games -- to lead off the fifth inning and give the Nationals a 5-2 lead against Burnett.

Washington padded its lead with three runs in the last of the sixth to make it 8-2. Span had an RBI double and Rendon hit a two-run single.

Strasburg allowed a two-run homer to pinch hitter John Mayberry Jr. in the seventh as the Phillies pulled within 8-4. It was the third pinch-hit homer of the year for Mayberry and the sixth of his career.

"He hit it pretty far. I need to do a better job," Strasburg said of the fastball down the middle.

NOTES: The baseball draft begins Thursday, and the Phillies have the seventh pick in the first round and the Nationals pick at No. 18. Washington had the first overall pick in 2009 (RHP Stephen Strasburg) and 2010 (OF Bryce Harper). This will be the highest pick for the Phillies since 2001, when they took RHP Gavin Floyd, now with the Atlanta Braves, at No. 4 overall. ... The scheduled starters for the series finale Thursday are Philadelphia RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.21 ERA) and Washington RHP Doug Fister (3-1, 3.34). ... Philadelphia assigned LHP Jeremy Horst outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and signed 1B Rusty Ryal to a minor league contract.

Instantly join a new league.

League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 30 9:00 am
View Comments (1)