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Instant analysis: Nats 5, Phillies 3

May 2, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It was billed as a stellar pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Cliff Lee, but this game was decided well after both starting hurlers were out of the game. The Phillies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Jayson Werth dropped a foul ball that gave Marlon Byrd new life and the opportunity to crush a 3-run homer. Strasburg, though, settled down after that and kept the Phillies from expanding their lead.

The Nationals chipped away at Lee, with Tyler Moore homering in the third and later scoring on Denard Span’s RBI groundout in the fifth. That inning was more notable for the benches-clearing moment that occurred after Lee quick-pitched and buzzed Span with a tight fastball while Span was trying to call for time out.

No matter, though. The Nationals simply waited until the Phillies’ bullpen entered the game and then did what they’ve already done so many times this season: Mount a late rally. They scored three runs off Mike Adams and Jake Diekman, getting clutch hits from Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche to take the lead and turn the game over to their bullpen.

Tyler Clippard put himself in a jam in the bottom of the eighth but pitched his way out of it. Rafael Soriano then finished things off with his club-record 23rd consecutive scoreless inning, securing the Nationals’ ninth come-from-behind victory of the year.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Quick: Who were the Nationals’ two most-productive and clutch hitters in April? Rendon and LaRoche. Well, they’re also the Nats’ most-productive and clutch hitters so far in May. With the game on the line in the top of the eighth, Rendon delivered the game-tying hit with a sharp single up the middle, giving him 21 RBI in 29 games. Two batters later, LaRoche delivered the go-ahead hit with a single to center off a left-hander, giving him 18 RBI. The Nationals entered this game with a collective .828 OPS against opposing relievers, which is really good. And that number only went up tonight.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Yes, Strasburg did serve up the 3-run homer to Byrd moments after Werth’s error, continuing a frustrating trend that dates back to last season. But give the right-hander credit for clamping down after that. He scattered four hits and a walk from the second through the sixth innings, keeping the game under control and giving his teammates a chance to rally (which they did). At only 83 pitches, he easily could have continued but was a victim of his spot in the lineup coming up with the Nats trailing in the top of the seventh. You can harp on the one negative with Strasburg in this game, or you can appreciate the multiple positives. In this case, it seems appropriate to focus on the positives.

KEY STAT: Tyler Moore is now 6-for-12 with three doubles and two homers in his career against Cliff Lee.

UP NEXT: The series continues with another strong pitching matchup. Tanner Roark looks to continue his magic against veteran A.J. Burnett, off to a strong start with the Phillies. First pitch at Citizens Bank Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

  1. dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    As we say in Nataholics Anonymous…

    Keep Comin Back!

    • secretwasianman - May 2, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      Loll

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:23 PM

        Yeah…It’s tough in NA….I can only put diet coke in my Maalox

  2. secretwasianman - May 2, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Oh I do love when we send the Philthie faithful home sad. Boo hoo hoo.

    • natsjackinfl - May 2, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      You quit in the first inning.

      • unkyd59 - May 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM

        +1

      • secretwasianman - May 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        Get any more Tats?

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - May 2, 2014 at 11:43 PM

        +another1

  3. janebeard - May 2, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    I love them all the time but never more than when they beat these guys. AND their phans.

  4. veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Beating a Lee start always makes me happy. Keep grinding. We’re set once we get back the full squad. Gonna be real fun soon.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Very pleased that you can win a game like this against an ace like Lee and overcome a costly error. When the Nats took the 5-3 lead the poor situational hitting reared its ugly head.

    • David Proctor - May 2, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      In fairness, we had the absolute worst guys up there. Espinosa, Moore and Walters have the worst plate discipline of anyone on our team. Better they come after we get the lead, I guess.

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        So any other options for 1B if ALR needs more time ??

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        No problem at all with Walters as there are then 2 outs but Espi and TyMo have to shorten up with 2 strikes to make contact.

        These boys must watch tape of Werth and Rendon in those situations or Yadier or Freeman. A productive out would work like Span did earlier in the game.

      • veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:32 PM

        I still feel like Espi has turned the corner, just not in high stress situations. baby steps.

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        And so how does Tyler shorten up his swing when he hasn’t done so in 3 years.
        Easier blogged than done.

      • Steady Eddie - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Wrong — TMo did it multiple times in 2012. Remember his game-winning single poked to the opposite field in NLDS game 1? Would have been swinging strike on a low outside pitch with a home run cut.

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      And Denard none too happy

      Wonder what BS tricks Hamels will have up his sleeve

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      and the phillie pitcher’s head games

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      Yup and as you said earlier…..Tyler Moore is well Tyler Moore after that strikeout.

      Acceptance is the key in NA.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        There are hitters who can swing long and are good contact guys like LaRoche has been this year and Ryan Zimmerman is another. If you don’t have a track record, change your approach to something that works.

  6. veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Bottom 9…still 2-1. Do this, Romo.

  7. natsjackinfl - May 2, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Sergio Romo in to close it out in the bottom of the 9th. 2-1 Giants.

    • nats128 - May 2, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      They get the runner on base and starting chopping away.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    “dcwx61 – May 2, 2014 at 10:31 PM
    So any other options for 1B if ALR needs more time ??”

    Yes, his name is TyMo.

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      Like I said, any other options for 1B if ALR needs more time ??
      (except when Cliff Lee is pitching)

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      Not the answer I was looking for

  9. veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Bj Upton up w 2 outs and no one on. Should be game.

    • nats128 - May 2, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      Wellllllll, now got to get Freeman.

      • nats128 - May 2, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        Ok, get the other Upton.

  10. veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Stupid chop is sooooooannoying.

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      A bunch of brain dead zombies…is that the best they can do year after year…
      In the words a former blogger…..Stooooopid fans

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      Not to mention borderline — over the line? — racist.

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        My ex Father in law was Native American and did not appreciate it (nor me for that matter).

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 2, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Good job Nats….

    Come on Romo (I feel so dirty saying that)…

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      I take it you are not a Cowboys fan

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 2, 2014 at 10:45 PM

        I’d rather be dead than be a cowboys fan… Yes, it’s that serious.

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      Understood..I’m a giants fan since the days of Jersey Joe Pisarchek

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 2, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        I don’t loathe you all like I do the cowboys.. Just a healthy disrespect for you as a division rival.. :-)

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      Oh Mrsb, I like so much about you. Can’t stand the football team of Dallas.

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        She’s already taken Ghost….Better watch out Roger doesn’t hear you

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 11:01 PM

        LOL.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        I root for all DC teams… Been doing that since I was little.. But I love sports, so I recognie talent (see my praises of F Freeman)

        But that Cowboya team… Unh unh, I get irrational with my hate for them… Lol. It’s learned behavior from my family… :-)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        Yep, Diron Talbert taught me to hate Dallas. Add to that all Philadelphia teams and the Barves.

      • therealjohnc - May 2, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        Diron Talbert, the Dancing Bear! #72 IIRC. That’s a blast from the past

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        I’m old and Sunday’s in our home at 1pm was a day for watching football. I still hate Clint Longley.

      • unkyd59 - May 3, 2014 at 7:24 AM

        The Dancing Bear played right next to Talbert… His name was Ron McDole…

      • therealjohnc - May 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        Ah well – at least I got the number right! :-)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        Good going!

  12. TimDz - May 2, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    This may be clear homer-ism, but I have a feeling this team is going to explode this month….
    The Werth error was a fluke and SS kicked it up a notch in response…good signs….

    • veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      I have a feeling once we have a full, healthy squad that we’ll be tough to beat. Fister and Ramos will be HUGE.1

    • Joe Seamhead - May 2, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      Agreed, Tim. Except JW has really struggled in the OF a lot this year.

      • TimDz - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Long run….windy….fluke…..
        That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :)

      • Sonny G 10 - May 3, 2014 at 2:10 AM

        I think he may be hindered by that nagging groin injury.

  13. veejh - May 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Woo. Giants win. Chippin away.

  14. nats128 - May 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Struck. Him. Out. Chop that!

  15. NatsLady - May 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Jeez, Romo is as nerve-wracking as Clip.

    • TimDz - May 2, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      And Soriano….

      • Joe Seamhead - May 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Soriano is not boring, but he has been racking up quite a streak of not giving up any runs. I like the guy.

    • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Tony ?

  16. Joe Seamhead - May 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Upton fail! Gotta love it!

  17. David Proctor - May 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Nats only 0.5 back of the Braves right now. No, standing don’t matter at this point unless it’s extreme and I’m not going to live and die by each win and loss. But, it doesn’t hurt. And the Braves are coming back down to Earth as expected.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 2, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      I predicted a 2-1 win but I think I was referring to the Nats.

  18. natsjackinfl - May 2, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    All I can say is, that was fun and the reason why I love baseball.

    • Steady Eddie - May 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Nice touch was that Mikey Morse hit what ended up being the game-winning homer.

      • dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        MIK…see you real soon,,,,,EEY.
        MORSE.

        Take him on

  19. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 2, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    I wish Gio vs Hamels was on national TV…

  20. dcwx61 - May 2, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Gotta go to bed or admit that I’m a Nataholic

    . Step One. “We admitted we were powerless over the Nationals— that our lives had become unmanageable.”

    • unkyd59 - May 3, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      Lol…(snork!)

  21. MicheleS - May 3, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    The best thing about last night was a Philly friend said after the T-Mo homerun that Philly was going to lose. I looked at him like ?????. He said, it’s the bullpen… Seriously, like the Marlins and the Mets, get into the bullpen and we got this.

  22. rabbit433 - May 3, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Ryan Zimmerman who?

    • scnatsfan - May 3, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Wait until Ryan returns, gets hot and puts the team on his back. You know it will happen.

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