Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 2

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Instant Replay: Nationals 5, Phillies 2

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WASHINGTON -- The Phillies’ quest to reach the .500 mark lives on after a 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Kyle Kendrick was not sharp and neither was the defense when the Nats rallied for four runs in the decisive fifth inning.

The Phils have been held to two or fewer runs in 19 of 48 games. They are 23-25. Washington is 25-23.

This was the first of 19 meetings between the two clubs.

Starting pitching report
Kendrick suffered his second straight loss to fall to 4-3 on the season. His command was not good; he needed 107 pitches to get through five innings. He threw just 62 strikes. The right-hander allowed 12 base runners on eight hits and four walks. Kendrick walked just two batters in his first three starts this month. He has walked eight in his last two. He has given up nine runs in his last two starts after giving up just eight in his previous six.

Jordan Zimmermann stayed on course for the All-Star Game. He held the Phils to two runs over seven innings and did not walk a batter. Zimmermann has allowed two or fewer runs in nine of 10 starts. He is 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA.

Bullpen report
The Phillies, looking for middle relief help, had to be encouraged by Mike Stutes coming up from Triple A and throwing two shutout innings.

Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano closed it out for Washington.

At the plate
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Ryan Howard had a leadoff double and scored on a one-out single by Domonic Brown, whose 25 RBIs are tied with Howard and Chase Utley for the team lead.

The Phillies got four singles in the fifth inning but scored just one run -- on a sacrifice fly by Erik Kratz. Ben Revere had a chance to do some one-out damage but grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the frame.

The Nats scored four times off Kendrick in the bottom of the fifth inning. Adam LaRoche had an RBI triple off the center-field wall with one out to tie the game. It came on a 3-0 pitch. Revere got to the wall but appeared to overrun the ball and couldn’t make the catch. The Nats ended up scoring three runs with two outs on a single by Kurt Suzuki and a double by No. 8 hitter Steve Lombardozzi on a 2-0 pitch. Tyler Moore preceded Lombardozzi’s two-run double with an infield hit. Phils third baseman Michael Young could have gotten the third out on the slow roller, but had trouble getting the ball out of his glove.

In the field
Revere and Young had a chance to make plays that would have limited the damage in the fifth inning, but neither did.

Revere threw out Moore at the plate in the fourth. Kratz hung on to the ball as Moore crashed into him.

Transactions
Michael Martinez was added to take Utley’s roster spot. More on the Phils’ decision to bring up Martinez and not Darin Ruf here: (see story). The team says Mike Adams will come off the DL on Sunday (see story).

Up next
Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.00) opposes Dan Haren (4-5, 5.54) on Saturday night.

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whit Merrifield hit a two-run, two-out double that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night to reach .500 for the first time since April.

With their 10th win in 12 games, the Royals improved to 36-36. They were 6-6 before play on April 20, then went on a nine-game losing streak that night and dropped as low as 10-20, seven games out of first place. They trail AL Central-leading Cleveland by three games.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and extended it when Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit RBI singles off Joakim Soria (4-2) (see full recap).

Dodgers cruise past Rockies for 8th straight win
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig homered and left-hander Alex Wood kept his record perfect as the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the NL West rival Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Friday night for their eighth consecutive victory.

The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 15 games. They have scored at least six runs in seven consecutive games.

Wood (8-0) allowed one run in six innings. He gave up only three hits and walked two, retiring his last 10 batters.

The Dodgers have homered in 15 consecutive games, tied for fourth-longest streak in club history. The last time they managed it was in 1977. Their record is 24 consecutive games with a home run.

Rookie left-hander Kyle Freeman (8-4) allowed five runs and a career-high 10 hits and three walks in six innings (see full recap).

Torreyes hits walk-off single to lift Yanks over Rangers
NEW YORK -- Ronald Torreyes hit a game-winning single with two outs in the 10th inning after midnight, and the New York Yankees edged the Texas Rangers 2-1 on a rainy Friday night for just their second win in 10 games.

Brett Gardner lined a tying home run with one out in the New York ninth off closer Matt Bush. After Chasen Shreve (2-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th, Torreyes kept the Yankees atop the AL East.

Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka kept it scoreless into the late innings in the first major league meeting between the Japanese stars (see full recap).

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

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PHOENIX -- The clubhouse was beginning to clear and still the star of the game had not yet emerged from the shower.

"He's in there cleaning the guacamole and mayo out of his hair," Cameron Rupp said with a laugh.

Eventually Mark Leiter Jr. made it out of the shower and over to his locker where equipment man Phil Sheridan presented him with three game balls, souvenirs from not only his first big-league start but his first big-league win, as well.

"It's something I'll never forget," the 26-year-old right-hander from Toms River, N.J., said pitching six shutout innings to backbone the Phillies' 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night (see Instant Replay).

"I’ll be honest, I was probably more excited for this than I was for my major-league debut. To go out there and contribute to a win is what I was hoping to do."

Leiter, a 22nd-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2013, had never made it onto the 40-man roster until the Phils needed a reliever in mid-April and gave him a shot after he'd gotten off to a good start at Triple A. He spent six weeks in the majors and made 12 relief appearances before being sent back to Triple A the first weekend of June.

Leiter worked as a starter during his time back at Triple A. He pitched six shutout innings against Syracuse in his last start and got the call to come back up when Jerad Eickhoff went on the disabled list with a back strain earlier this week.

Leiter's return assignment was not easy: The Diamondbacks are one of the best hitting clubs in the majors and the best on their home turf. They entered the game scoring 6.48 runs per game at home and with an .886 OPS, both major-league bests.

None of that fazed Leiter.

"In my opinion, this is the big leagues and it doesn’t matter who the lineup is," he said. "They all have the ability to hit and hit well. They’re all big-leaguers and they've earned their right to be big-leaguers. I was just trying to pitch to the team you're facing that day."

Leiter trusted his low-90s fastball and commanded it well. He mixed in his secondary stuff and kept the D-backs off-balance with his splitter. He scattered three hits, walked one and struck out five. He showed no fear.

"Great performance," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He made it look easy. He made a lot of good hitters look bad with his split. For him to come up and do that to a real good hitting team was outstanding."

Leiter's dad, Mark Sr., pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998. He made the trip in from New Jersey to watch his son's first big-league start.

"I guess they found him on TV," Leiter said. "That's what they were telling me. I'm sure he wasn't too pleased they found him because he was probably stressed out. But I think it was probably worth him coming out here. He's probably happy."

How could he not be?

Leiter's teammates were definitely happy.

They treated Leiter to a raucous postgame dousing that included as many different condiments as could be found in the clubhouse dining room. One laughing player had a bottle of ketchup in his hands. Another had a squeeze bottle of honey.

And then there was the guacamole and mayo that Rupp mentioned.

"In his first major-league start, to come up here and do that in what is known as a good hitters’ park - that proves Mark is pretty strong between the ears," Tommy Joseph said. "He's been one of those under-the-radar guys that people have doubted, but his mentality and ability to prepare are second to none."

Joseph played a big role in the win, smacking a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Phillies some breathing room. Maikel Franco also had a big home run and Freddy Galvis contributed an important triple that led to a Phillies' run in the first inning.

The Phils still have the worst record in the majors at 24-48, but they've won two in a row, both on the back of good starting pitching performances. Aaron Nola pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Thursday.

And Leiter delivered on Friday.

"It's good to see those back-to-back," Mackanin said.