PHILADELPHIA - Dan Haren had a 1-2-3 first inning, retiring Ben Revere, Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins in order to get his night started on a positive note.
Over his next two innings of work, Haren allowed seven of the 12 hitters he faced to reach base. The right-hander served up five hits (three of which were for extra bases) and two walks, and three of those baserunners came around to score.
Ryan Howard crushed a solo homer off Haren in the second, marking the 18th home run allowed by Haren this season, the most in the majors. In the third, Young and Rollins came in on Delmon Young's bloop double down the right field line that Jayson Werth just missed on a diving attempt.
Werth came up with the ball and fired to Anthony Rendon, who then gunned Howard at third after the Phillies first baseman had made a really wide turn around the bag. Ryan Zimmerman made a nice leaping grab of Rendon's relay throw and slapped the tag on Howard for the third out, ending the Phillies' threat.
Haren's been hit around a bit, but luckily for the Nats, so has John Lannan.
The Nats have put up six hits and two runs on Lannan through four, and back-to-back doubles by Kurt Suzuki and Steve Lombardozzi in the fourth have cut the Phillies' lead to 3-2.
Neither of these teams have done much offensively this season, but neither of these starting pitchers have looked too sharp tonight, either.
Update: Haren got through six innings on 115 pitches, but yet again, he trails as he leaves a ballgame.
It's a 4-2 game after six innings, and Lannan is in line for the win after going five innings and allowing two runs. The former Nats starter surrendered six hits, a walk and hit a batter, but the Nats let him off the hook early by stranding two runners in both the first and second innings.
If the score holds, this would be Lannan's first win with the Phillies.
Meanwhile, the Nats haven't won a game started by Haren since May 9. He's been stuck with the loss five times in that span (two of which were tough-luck losses) and has gotten one no-decision.
The best he can hope for tonight is another no-decision. For that to happen, the Nats will need a late comeback, something they've gotten very few of this season.
Update II: With the Nats down to their last strike trailing by one in the ninth, Chad Tracy pulled some magic.
Tracy fouled off two 0-2 pitches and then skied a solo homer three rows into the seats in right field, about 10 feet inside the foul pole, tying the game at 4-4 and giving the Nats new life.
The homer came off Jonathan Papelbon, who blows his first save of the season. It's Tracy's second game-tying homer in the last three days.
Lannan is denied his first win as a Phillie and a win against his former team. We keep playing in the City of Brotherly Love.
Fernando Abad is in to work the bottom of the ninth.
Update III: The Nats delayed the disappointment for half an inning, but it came eventually.
Domonic Brown slapped a two-strike, two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth, bringing in Revere from third with the game-winning run. The Nats lose 5-4, and fall a game back below .500 at 34-35.
Abad gets the loss, marking his second walk-off defeat in his last three appearances.