After facing the minimum in his first inning of work tonight, Taylor Jordan nearly didn't get out of the second.
Jordan allowed four runs on five hits in the second inning, allowing nine Phillies hitters to come to the plate and forcing the Nationals bullpen into action early.
Darin Ruf delivered the big blow for the Phillies, crushing the first pitch he saw from Jordan out to left for a two-run homer. It was Ruf's sixth longball of the season, and marked just the third homer Jordan has allowed in 42 1/3 big league innings this season.
The Phillies weren't done there, however. Cody Asche followed with an infield single, and Michael Martinez added one of his own two batters later. That brought up Phillies starter Cliff Lee, who dropped down a perfect safety squeeze bunt.
Jordan opted to try and come home to cut down Asche, but his throw to the plate was too late to get the Phillies third baseman.
Jimmy Rollins then delivered an RBI single, plating Martinez, making it a 4-0 Phillies lead.
Jordan has been really solid in his time in the big leagues this season, but that was not a pretty inning for the 24-year-old. He left far too many pitches up and out over the heart of the plate, and the Phillies made him pay.
The righty has already thrown 40 pitches through two innings and finds himself in a four-run hole early on.
Update: Two Nationals runs in the fourth have cut the Phillies' lead in half and made this a 4-2 game mid-way through the fifth.
Ryan Zimmerman doubled leading off the fourth and came around to score two batters later on a Jayson Werth RBI single. After an Ian Desmond double pushed Werth to third, he came in on Adam LaRoche's run-scoring groundout.
The Nats ended up stranding Desmond at third, but at least they've gotten to Lee and tightened the score as we hit the middle innings.
Jordan has done a nice job battling on a night where he clearly doesn't have his best stuff. He's now through five innings on just 77 pitches and has delivered three scoreless innings since that awful four-run second.
The mark of a good pitcher isn't just what he does when he's on his A-game, it's what he can do when he's struggling with his stuff or location. Jordan has surely impressed Davey Johnson tonight with his ability to scratch through at least five frames.
Update II: From the "We Didn't See This Coming in February" department: Tanner Roark has relieved Taylor Jordan in a game against the Phillies.
Roark is on for his second big league appearance after Jordan was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan allowed seven hits and four runs over his five frames, with one walk, three strikeouts and a wild pitch.
He allowed one home run and threw 54 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
Jordan is now at 136 innings pitched this season. Johnson said before the game that the rookie's innings limit will be somewhere between 130 and 155 innings, and it's unclear how many (if any) starts Jordan has left.
Ross Ohlendorf allowed one run on five hits over three innings in his rehab start with Triple-A Syracuse tonight. He threw 63 pitches.
Ohlendorf will slide into Jordan's spot in the rotation when the rookie is shut down.
Update III: On his 26th birthday, Wilson Ramos came up with a big two-out, RBI single in the sixth, cutting the Phillies' lead to 4-3.
Lee is now done for Philadelphia, meaning Charlie Manuel will need to get nine outs from his mediocre (and that's putting it kindly) bullpen.
Roark, meanwhile, needed just 12 pitches to record six outs tonight. In his two major league outings, he's worked four frames and allowed just a single hit, retiring 11 of the 12 batters he's faced.