Problems … After winning six straight, the Phillies dropped their fourth in a row last night, a 5-2 loss to Washington. They've now lost four of their last five against the Nationals and 13 of 16 going back to last season. More alarming than that trend, Roy Halladay was utterly human, having troubles locating, leaving the ball up in the zone. Doc gave up nine hits and five ER in six IP, including a triple to Bryce Harper and home runs to Ian Desmond and Rick Ankiel. His ERA climbed to 3.58.
In a painful third inning, the Nats erased the meager 1-0 lead the Phillies had after a Hector Luna ground-rule double scored Henter Pence. Halladay allowed a pair of singles before Harper laced a triple and was later scored by an Adam LaRoche sac. Then Ian Desmond came to the plate and put one over the wall. With Danny Espinosa up next and the count 0-1, Carlos Ruiz disagreed with a Gary Cederstrom call and was tossed.
Ankiel's homer to lead off the fourth inning was the last of the Nationals' damage, but it was more than they'd need. The Phils would manage just one more run in the game.
Bright Side: Erik Kratz hit his first career homer, taking Tom Gorzelanny yard when he pinch hit in the eighth, and Jake Diekman allowed only one baserunner in 1.2 innings of relief, striking out four. In fact, every Phils reliever was efficient when there was no lead to protect. Jose Contreras and Antonio Bastardo combined for four straight outs after Diekman. Doc did strike out six, by the way.
Nine different Phillies (including Halladay) had hits in the game, but none had more than one, and only two drew walks.
Standings Slide: With the Braves losing the first two games of their series in Cinci, and the Nats winning the first two of this one, Washington is back in first place in the East. Miami (two games back) and the Mets (three) each won on the night as well. The Phils are 5.5 back.
Outside Reading: Reliving the game any further is kinda pointless, but if you want to read something interesting on it, check out David Murphy's post about Halladay after the game. In it, Halladay describes the Phils' veteran group as pressing and also discusses what got Chooch tossed. Good read. [High Cheese]
Photo: Howard Smith, US Presswire