Nats escape with 2-1 win over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - Breathe, Nats fans.

Facing a Phillies team which came into tonight having won seven of its last 10, scoring 4.9 runs per game over that span, the Nationals’ pitching staff did the trick yet again.

But that’s not to say it wasn’t interesting.

Gio Gonzalez pitched six shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing just three hits. Craig Stammen delivered two monster frames in relief, serving as the bridge to the ninth inning.

Things then got very tricky (and I mean very tricky) in the ninth when Henry Rodriguez put the potential game-tying runners in scoring position with just one out. Sean Burnett came out of the ‘pen with runners at second and third and just one out, and while he allowed a run to score on a Ty Wigginton sac fly, he retired Placido Polanco on a soft line drive to second to end the game.

Toss in two RBIs from Ian Desmond and you get a 2-1 Nats’ win in the first game of this tough 15-game stretch against division opponents.

The Phillies had big-time chances in the third, sixth and eighth innings, but the Nats’ hurlers did a fantastic job buckling down in key spots, holding Philadelphia to a 1-for-10 line with runners in scoring position.

The Nats failed to get a runner on base from the fifth inning on, with their final 15 hitters going down in order. But they got enough offense to carry them to a win, thanks to Desmond’s solo homer in the second and RBI single in the fourth.

Washington is now 3-1 against the Phillies this season after the dramatic win on the road.

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