Werth crushes, Jordan impresses (Nats lose 4-2)

PHILADELPHIA - As he is before his first at-bat of every game here at Citizens Bank Park, Jayson Werth was booed heavily when he stepped into the batter’s box in the top of the second inning tonight.

Werth responded to the jeers from his former fanbase by reaching out and crushing a Cole Hamels changeup into the bleachers in left-center, giving the Nationals an early lead.

It wasn’t a bad pitch from Hamels; the changeup was down in the zone and away from Werth. He stayed on the pitch, however, dropping the barrel to the ball and extending his arms fully to drive it over the 387-foot market in left-center.

It’s Werth’s ninth homer of the season.

The Phillies knotted the game in the fourth on a circus play that won’t go down in Tom Emanski’s defensive drills videos.

Domonic Brown followed Chase Utley’s two-out double by slapping a single to right, and Werth grabbed the ball on a hop and came up throwing to the plate. His throw skipped in to Kurt Suzuki, and while it initially looked like Suzuki had corralled it and tagged Utley, the ball dropped out of Suzuki’s mitt and Utley was ruled safe.

Suzuki then grabbed the loose ball and fired to second trying to get Brown, but the throw went past Ian Desmond and into center field, allowing Brown to move up to third. He was eventually stranded when Taylor Jordan got Michael Young to strike out ending the inning, but the Phillies had already tied the score.

As it turns out, replays here in the Citizens Bank Park press box showed that Utley didn’t actually touch the plate on his slide. His left leg went over the plate and his tucked left leg went past the dish without making contact with it.

Home plate ump Vic Carapazza called Utley safe, and you can’t really blame him for doing so. Utley sure as heck looked safe, and only slow-mo video replays could show that he wasn’t.

Outside of the back-to-back hits by Utley and Brown, Jordan has been pretty darn good thus far.

He’s allowed just the one run in five innings, getting three double play balls and working out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth.

The rookie right-hander has thrown 70 pitches in his five innings, and the Nats’ bullpen is quiet in a 1-1 game.

Update: The Phillies seemed to get better and better swings off Jordan each time through the order, and they got to him in the sixth inning, plating three runs to take a 4-1 lead.

Adam LaRoche committed his sixth error of the season when his throw to second trying to cut down Jimmy Rollins on a fielder’s choice bounced off Rollins and rolled away. That allowed Ben Revere to score the go-ahead run.

Two batters later, with Craig Stammen having just gotten up in the bullpen, Michael Young ripped a two-run double to right-center, giving the Phillies a three-run cushion. That’s it for Jordan, who went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

In Jordan’s first time through the order, Phillies hitters were 1-for-8. His second time through, they were 4-for-9. His third time through, they were 3-for-5.

Now, they lead 4-1.

Update II: The Nats had their best chance of the night in the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out and Ryan Zimmerman and Werth coming up.

Zimmerman went down swinging on pitches, then did some barking at Carapazza from the Nats’ dugout. Werth followed by battling Hamels in a seven-pitch at-bat, and he put a good swing on a 3-2, 94 mph fastball, but his shot to the track in center was tracked down by Revere for the final out.

This is the second night in a row Werth has driven a ball to the warning track in center in a big spot, and both times, the ball came down in Revere’s mitt.

The Nats still trail 4-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth, and they’re three more offensive outs from their second straight loss to the Phillies.

Update III: That’ll do it. The Nats lost to the Phillies 4-2, giving them their second straight loss and dropping them back to two games over .500.

Hamels held the Nats to one run over eight innings - the second straight night a Phillies lefty worked eight strong against the Nats - and Antonio Bastardo closed it out for the Phils. Scott Hairston came up representing the tying run with two outs in the ninth, but he popped out to end it.

After averaging 6.1 runs per game during their seven-game homestand, the Nats have now scored a total of four runs during their two games here in Philly. Won’t win many games that way.

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