The Washington Nationals (51-42) jumped all over the Philadelphia Phillies (42-53), grabbing a 7-0 lead in the sixth and refusing to let up, entering the All-Star break with a 10-3 win.
Straight from the get-go, it seemed that it would be the Nats’ day. Facing Kyle Kendrick (L, 4-9), who entered the game with a 4.46 ERA, the Nats opened the game with three straight hits, the third of which was a Jayson Werth home run for an early 3-0 lead.
After the homer, Kendrick seemed to flip a switch, turning from very hittable to absolutely unhittable. He would retire the next 14, yes, 14 Nationals, only to have his streak broken by a clean single from Tanner Roark in the fifth. From there, he returned to his poor form, giving up another run in the sixth before being yanked mid-frame.
But the pitching change made no difference, as the Nats preyed on reliever Mario Hollands to the tune of three straight hits and three more runs. After the final out of the sixth was made, the Nats held a commanding 7-0 lead.
All the while, Roark (W, 8-6) was holding down the fort with an excellent performance. He did not allow a hit until the third, and gave up his lone run in the bottom of the sixth, after the Nationals had all but ended the game early. He was not efficient in the early going, but low pitch counts in the later innings helped him throw a sparkling seven innings. He gave up one run on four hits, walking none and striking out six. At the All-Star break, he holds a 3.01 ERA.
Even after scoring seven, the Nats were not satisfied on offense. Ryan Zimmerman rocked a solo homer to dead center in the eighth, and Anthony Rendon and Werth both had RBI hits in the ninth to put the Nats on top, 10-1.
Though they were just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position last night, the Nats regressed far beyond the mean today. A 6-for-7 day helped them hit double-digits in the runs column.
The Phillies tacked on a pair of unearned runs in the ninth, sending the game to its 10-3 final. With the series victory in hand, the Nats will have four days off before they return to action Friday in DC, where they’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers.