Nats hit four homers to support Ross in 5-1 win over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA - With Bryce Harper nursing a sore right knee, the Nationals turned to others in their lineup for tonight's supply of power.

Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew all clubbed home runs for the Nationals, who also got a dominant start out of Joe Ross en route to a 5-1 victory over the Phillies.

Werth launched his homer in the top of the first, pouncing on right-hander Aaron Nola's first-pitch fastball and sending the ball flying to left-center field. The crowd of 18,572, which booed Werth as always upon his introduction, really let the ex-Phillie have it as he rounded the bases with his 10th home run in 39 games at Citizens Bank Park while wearing a curly W cap.

Five innings later, Murphy did his part, turning an 0-2 pitch from Nola into a moonshot to right field. That was Murphy's ninth homer of the season (only five shy of his career high), his 46th base hit of May (one shy of Al Oliver and Marquis Grissom's franchise record) and merely the latest in an ever-expanding list of clutch hits by the veteran second baseman.


That it came on an 0-2 pitch wasn't even a surprise. Murphy is now hitting .397 this season when behind in the count. The major league average for such situations: .199.

Murphy later beat out an infield single, thus tying Oliver and Grissom's franchise record.

Espinosa and Drew hit their homers in the top of the ninth, giving the Nationals some much needed insurance and turning a 2-1 lead into a 5-1 lead. Drew's hit, an inside-the-parker, was the Nats' eighth pinch-hit homer this year, three more than they hit in all of 2015.

Harper sat out the game one night after taking a fastball off the outside of his right knee. The 23-year-old outfielder was diagnosed with a contusion; he may take Wednesday's series finale off as well and wait until Friday night's opener in Cincinnati to return to the lineup.

The Nationals' two solo homers off Nola didn't represent much offensive support, but that was enough for Ross, who once again dazzled on the mound.

Ross allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings, that run coming on back-to-back hits by David Lough and Cesar Hernandez in the bottom of the second. He allowed only two more batters to reach base after that, finishing his night with a flourish by striking out Tyler Goeddel with a 94-mph fastball on his 103rd pitch.

Ross lowered his ERA to 2.37, seventh-best in the National League.

Ross finishes strong to secure his latest victory ...
Werth homers again in Philly, leaving fans booing ...

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