After Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the season, Domonic Brown provided him with some encouraging words. Then, Brown gave him a win.
Brown hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 5-4 on Monday night.
The Nationals tied it at 4 when Chad Tracy hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth off Papelbon (1-0). It was the first blown save for Papelbon, who had converted his previous 13 chances.
”He’s been great for us,” Brown said. ”I told him we’re going to fight for him and we ended up coming up with the win.”
Ben Revere led off the Phillies’ ninth with a single against Fernando Abad (0-2). Revere was running on Jimmy Rollins’ one-out single and easily reached third base.
Abad struck out pinch-hitter Steven Lerud for the second out before Brown fisted the winning hit to center. Papelbon was the first player to greet Brown in celebration as he was rounding first base.
”I was trying to stay as short and quick as I can, especially with a tough lefty like Abad,” Brown said after his first career walkoff hit. ”It feels great. It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s priceless.”
Papelbon easily retired the first two batters in the ninth and had Tracy in an 0-2 hole. But Tracy, who pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game, hit his third home run, barely clearing the wall just inside the foul pole in right.
”He was trying to be short. I fought off two pitches and finally hit one,” Tracy said. ”Everybody was feeling good and emotions were high. Personally it was good for me, but nobody’s happy right now. A loss is a loss.”
Ryan Howard went 3 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs, and Delmon Young had a two-run double for the Phillies, who returned home after losing seven games on a 10-game road trip.
”We’re trying to get some games on the Nats,” Brown said. ”It feels good to get a win, especially after a long road trip.”
John Lannan, a former mainstay in the Nationals’ rotation, made his first start since April 17 after a nearly two-month stint on the disabled list with a strained tendon in his left knee. He allowed six hits and two runs in five innings, striking out four and walking one in his first start against his former club.
”I felt like he did a pretty good job for his first time back,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ”The 92 pitches were a little deeper than I thought that he would go in the game. He did alright. His five innings were big.”
Said Lannan, ”Just getting back in the swing of things. It felt awesome. It’s been a lot of time and a lot of hard work. I’m happy to be back.”
Steve Lombardozzi had two hits, including an RBI double, for the Nationals, who have lost three of four.
”It was a tough loss after a good comeback,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Howard led off the second with a solo shot to tie it at 1. It was the eighth homer of the season for Howard, who had been mired in a power slump. The slugger entered with just one homer since May 7, but launched Dan Haren’s offering into the second deck deep in right field.
”I’ve been trying to put together some good at-bats and let the power come when it comes,” Howard said.
Haren continued his recent struggles and remained winless in his last seven starts (0-5, 6.22 ERA) since May 9. Haren is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in six career starts against Philadelphia.
”He pitched good in spots,” Johnson said. ”He left some balls over the plate but finished strong. We have faith in him. He’ll be fine.”
Philadelphia went ahead 3-1 in the third on Young’s two-run double to right that just eluded the glove of a diving Jayson Werth. Washington pulled within 3-2 in the fourth on Lombardozzi’s RBI double and Howard’s fifth-inning RBI single put the Phillies back up by two runs.
Ian Desmond’s RBI single off Mike Adams in the eighth inning brought Washington within 4-3.
NOTES: Nationals OF Bryce Harper was cleared to begin strength work on his injured left knee. He hurt himself crashing into the wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. … The Nationals hope to have CF Denard Span back on Tuesday. He wasn’t in the lineup after fouling a ball off his right foot in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Cleveland. … Revere is batting .432 during an eight-game hitting streak. … Washington’s Anthony Rendon went 0 for 3 with a walk, ending his 10-game hitting streak. … Golfer Tom Watson threw out the first pitch. He attended the U.S. Open at nearby Merion. . Washington LHP Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02) is scheduled to face Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (8-2, 2.55) on Tuesday night.