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Nats get homestand off to good start

Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals
Nationals SP Jordan Zimmermann earned his 8th win against the Phillies.
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WASHINGTON (AP)

The Philadelphia Phillies had a chance to get even. In two ways. A win would have put them at .500 for the first time since April 14. It also would have tied them with the Washington Nationals for second place in the NL East.

But on an unseasonably chilly and windy night in the nation's capital, Kyle Kendrick had his shortest outing of the year. And the Nationals, whose bats had become so cold that manager Davey Johnson vowed to stop shaving until they came to life, managed to put up some runs for a change in the Phillies' 5-2 loss.

"Obviously, we've kind of been up and down all year," Kendrick said. "We had a chance to get back it tonight. Had a couple runs there and I couldn't hold it."

Kendrick (4-3) allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings. He walked four for the second consecutive start, including three consecutive bases on balls that allowed the Nationals to score a run in the second with a sacrifice fly and no hits.

"Command was bad, threw a lot of balls, didn't get ahead in the count," Kendrick said. "Another one of those nights where it was 2-0, just behind the count, and I threw a lot of pitches."

There were also a few plays that didn't quite go the Phillies' way in the crucial fifth inning. Ben Revere couldn't quite get in position to catch Adam LaRoche's triple off the center field wall. Michael Young couldn't get the ball out of his glove on Tyler Moore's infield hit. When Philadelphia was batting, Freddy Galvis was held up at third on Jimmy Rollins' single — and then Revere hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

"Things didn't go our way, and then Ben hits into a double play," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's kind of the way it goes."

Meanwhile, Washington's outburst of hitting provided the rare gift of a cushion for Jordan Zimmermann, who became the National League's first eight-game winner the Nationals followed a calamitous road trip with a winning start to a homestand.

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Zimmermann (8-2), pitching with a stiff neck that limited his control of his fastball, allowed two runs and six hits with no walks over seven innings — actually raising his ERA to 1.71.

"I kind of cut him a little shorter than I normally would," Johnson said. "He still threw a heck of a ballgame."

The Nationals entered the game hitting .225, second worst in the majors. Washington had just completed a 10-game West Coast road trip that included a four-game losing streak, the team's sixth shutout loss of the season, Bryce Harper's head-first collision with a wall and a broken hand for Ryan Mattheus after he punched his locker following a rough outing.

Then Johnson arrived at the ballpark Friday saying: "I decided I wouldn't shave until we started hitting."

So was five runs enough? After the game, Johnson said he told a couple of his players: "It's getting close to coming off."

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Their response: "They said it can't come off yet,"

"My wife, she probably wants me to take it off, I'm sure she does," Johnson said. "But I might leave it on, see if this is not something strange happening here."

Notes: Washington's last four-run inning came April 25 against the Cincinnati Reds. ... Headgear on both players when flying when Moore crashed into Erik Kratz while trying to score on Lombardozzi's single in the fourth inning. Kratz held on to the ball, and Moore was out. ... Both teams are missing star power. The Phillies don't have Roy Halladay (shoulder surgery) and Chase Utley (oblique strain), while the Nationals are making do without Jayson Werth (hamstring) and Danny Espinosa, who learned Friday that he's been playing with a slight fracture in his right wrist and will need a few days of rest, if not more. ... Philadelphia recalled INF-OF Michael Martinez and RHP Michael Stutes to replace Utley (disabled list) and RHP Phillippe Aumont (optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley). ... Phillies RHP Mike Adams (right back strain) felt fine after a second rehab bullpen session Friday and is expected to be reactivated Sunday.

Tagged: Michael Young, Kyle Kendrick, Ben Revere, Nationals, Phillies, Erik Kratz

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