Zimmerman grand slam in 9th stuns Phils
Manager Charlie Manuel said: ''Those things happen.''
Starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick said: ''Games like this happen.''
But, immediately after the Philadelphia Phillies' 8-4 loss Friday to the Washington Nationals, don't try telling that to Ryan Madson. The closer allowed six runs in a ninth inning that ended with Ryan Zimmerman's grand slam.
''I don't really care about myself,'' said Madson (3-2), who blew his second save in 25 opportunities. ''It's more about the guys that spend all the time out there all day and all night to get that win. To let them down, it doesn't feel good.''
By the time he showered, though, Madson had put the outing behind him, saying, ''It's just one game. That's all it is.''
''It's already over. Everybody already left,'' Madson said, motioning to a mostly empty Phillies locker room at Nationals Park.
The Phillies were leading 4-2 entering the ninth, but the Nationals sent eight men to the plate against Madson, who hadn't allowed six runs in a game since becoming exclusively a relief pitcher in 2007. Zimmerman was 8 for 22 in his career with no homers and four RBIs against the Phillies' formidable closer, including 0 for 3 this year.
That RBI total doubled in a hurry. The slam was Zimmerman's third in his career, as well as his eighth game-ending home run.
''Just trying to get it out of the infield,'' Zimmerman said. ''I guess you could say he's dominated me throughout the whole time. It's one of those at-bats where I don't know really how it happened, but I guess it happened.''
Jayson Werth opened the inning by hanging on with foul ball after foul ball until he singled to left on Madson's 11th pitch. Danny Espinosa hit a flare to center for a single, and Jonny Gomes singled to left to drive home Werth. Wilson Ramos bunted to put runners on second and third, and pinch-hitter Jesus Flores was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Ian Desmond singled to right to score Espinosa. With the bases still loaded, Rick Ankiel struck out swinging, leaving Zimmerman to finish things off. With no room on the bases, Madson had little choice but to throw his fastball with the full count.
''Here it is, and if you hit it, you hit it,'' Madson said. ''Most times when you challenge a guy like that, he's going to get a hit, and he did that time. So, I tip my cap to him. He's a great hitter.''
Todd Coffey (4-1) pitched the top of the ninth to get the win for the Nationals, who handed the Phillies only their second loss in the last 13 road games.
Until the last few minutes, the Phillies were in firm control. Kendrick, getting an unexpected start after a long rain delay, allowed two runs over six innings.
The teams started by playing all of 5 minutes of baseball with a background of thunder and lightning before a massive storm hit — it was an interesting choice for the officials to start the game when they did.
''I was surprised they started the game,'' Manuel said. ''You could tell it was going to rain, I guess. I could. I'm not a weatherman.''
After a delay of 2 hours, 22 minutes, scheduled starter Roy Oswalt was scratched in favor of Kendrick, who had been slated to pitch Saturday. In the fluky world of baseball, Kendrick was credited with a game starting as a pitcher but not as a batter, while Oswalt started as a batter but not as a pitcher — even though he didn't perform either task.
Oswalt will now start Saturday.
Washington starter Livan Hernandez was pitching to his fourth batter when everyone but the grounds crew headed for cover, and he stayed in the game when play resumed. The Phillies hit him hard in a four-run third, sending nine men to the plate and getting a season-high seven hits in an inning.
NOTES: Phillies CF Shane Victorino served the second game of his two-game suspension for his part in a benches-clearing brawl at San Francisco on Aug. 5. ... Howard returned after missing one game with a strained hand muscle. Ruiz was back after sitting out two games with a groin injury.