The Washington Nationals (46-43) saw their longest winning streak of the season come to an end at the hands of John Lannan and the Philadelphia Phillies (44-46) on Monday night with a 3-2 loss.
The game started on a sour note, as Dan Haren didn’t waste much time reminding Nats fans of their distaste for him in his return from the DL.
Just three pitches into his first start since June 22, he had put two men on base with back-to-back singles, and proceeded to face eight batters in the first inning while giving Philly a 2-0 lead.
On the positive side, he was able to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first (after walking in a run), and limited the Phillies to two runs through five innings. He struck out seven, and allowed seven hits with three walks, lowering his ERA to 6.00.
Haren’s outing wasn’t pretty, but he kept the Nationals in the game.
Unfortunately, the Nationals’ offense wasn’t able to muster enough hits to overcome Philadelphia’s small lead, as the one insurance run the Phillies scored off Fernando Abad in the sixth inning would be all they needed to ensure their victory.
The Nationals were outhit by the Phillies 6-10, and though they had averaged seven runs per game over their last eight games prior to Monday, two runs in the ninth inning off Jonathan Papelbon were all they could manage.
Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 and Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4, with a single and a double respectively in the ninth inning to start the Nationals’ rally, but their efforts were too little too late.
Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche both hit sacrifice flies to bring home the Nationals’ two runs, but Chad Tracy ultimately flew out to end it all.
For the Phillies, Lannan was a big part in stifling the Nationals’ offense, as he reminded his former team that he was their Opening Day starter two years in a row.
Lannan pitched eight scoreless innings on 109 pitches, only the second time he had thrown that many innings in his seven-year career. He gave up just four hits, all of them singles, struck out four and walked two.
After facing Lannan, the Nationals’ slash line against left-handed pitchers sunk to .216/.278/.338, which ranks last in baseball in all three categories. Those stats do not bode well for the rest of the series, as the Nats will face Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee on Tuesday and Wednesday.