Lannan holding Nats in check, Haren survives shaky start (Nats lose 3-2)

PHILADELPHIA - Through five innings tonight, John Lannan is outpitching the guy the Nationals replaced him with this offseason and sticking it to his former team in the process.

Lannan has held the Nats to just two hits over five scoreless innings, and he and the Phillies hold a 2-0 lead.

The Nats had their only real chance against Lannan in the fourth. Bryce Harper walked and then appeared to have second base stolen, but slid into the bag incredibly late, allowing Jimmy Rollins to slap down the tag. Second base umpire Gary Cederstrom called Harper out, although the play was pretty close.

If Harper slides in head-first on that play, as he normally does, he’s probably safe. Wonder if that’s a knee-related decision to go in feet-first.

Following the caught-stealing, Ryan Zimmerman singled to center, which likely would have scored Harper if he had swiped that bag cleanly. Jayson Werth then followed with a walk, but Adam LaRoche grounded out to second to end the inning and leave two runners stranded.

The Nats non-tendered Lannan this winter, allowing the left-hander to become a free agent after eight seasons in their system. He signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Phillies this offseason and after holding the Nats to two runs over five innings back on June 17, he’s shutting them down tonight.

Dan Haren, meanwhile, has been very shaky in his return to the Nats’ rotation after a stint on the DL due to right shoulder inflammation.

Haren has allowed seven hits and three walks through five innings of work, yet the Phillies have only managed to push across two runs, both of which came in the first inning.

The Phillies had three hits and drew two walks in the first, but they left the bases loaded and then failed to capitalize on a two-on, nobody-out situation in the third.

Haren has struck out seven hitters and showed good stuff at times, but just like before his DL stint, he’s been far too inconsistent. The veteran right-hander has thrown 95 pitches through his five innings and will likely be replaced starting the bottom of the sixth.

Update: Lannan absolutely dominated the Nationals tonight, working eight scoreless innings and allowing just four hits - all singles.

The left-hander struck out four - including Ian Desmond three times - and walked two. He threw 109 pitches through eight, and allowed just two hits out of the infield.

This was a heck of a performance by a guy who surrendered 11 hits and four runs over five innings his last time out. Lannan was in control from the get-go, and what was a red-hot Nats offense managed to put just one runner in scoring position against their former teammate.

Update II: That’ll do it. Jonathan Papelbon allowed two runs in the ninth, but Chad Tracy - pinch-hitting with two outs - flied out to center to end it.

There goes the Nats’ four-game winning streak, and they fall back to three games over .500.

They’ve now been shut out 10 times this season, and this goose egg comes after an eight-game stretch where they’d averaged seven runs per game.

Lannan was brilliant and the bats were silent until it was too late.

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