Runs have come at a premium lately for the Washington Nationals , putting a big burden on their starting pitchers. Luckily, Jordan Zimmermann has been up to the task this season, though Friday night he'll have to bounce back from his first loss in nearly a month.
Zimmermann tries to become the NL's first eight-game winner as Washington opens a three-game home series with the Philadelphia Phillies .
The Nationals (24-23) have scored 31 runs over the last 12 games, but they managed a 2-1 win at San Francisco on Wednesday to halt a four-game losing streak.
Zimmermann (7-2, 1.62 ERA) hasn't needed much support, though his first bid for his eighth win was foiled.
He allowed two runs - one earned - and seven hits over eight innings in a 2-1 defeat at San Diego on Saturday. The first run was on a solo homer by Yonder Alonso and Alexi Amarista came around for the go-ahead run in the eighth, scoring only after reaching second on Zimmermann's errant pick-off attempt.
"It was a good pitch, it was up," Zimmermann, who is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts against Philadelphia, said of the pitch to Alonso. "You can't really complain about that. The throwing error I made down the line cost us. If I don't make that, we're still out there playing."
Thursday's off day was likely helpful for Bryce Harper , who hurt his left knee while making a diving catch in the eighth inning Wednesday. He is also still recovering from his collision with the wall in Los Angeles last week, though he hit his 12th homer and scored both of Washington's runs against the Giants.
Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 2.82) gets the ball trying to bring the Phillies, who have won seven of 10, back to .500 for the first time since they were 6-6 on April 14.
He is coming off his first loss in eight starts after yielding four runs, eight hits and a season-high four walks over six innings in a 10-0 defeat to Cincinnati on Saturday.
Kendrick had been 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in seven outings since losing his first start April 5.
"They have a good lineup and I wasn't good," Kendrick said. "Those two things make it tough."
Philadelphia (23-24) will be without second baseman Chase Utley after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with an oblique strain. Utley has a .475 slugging percentage and his 25 RBIs tie him with Ryan Howard for the team lead.
"We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We are being cautious with this injury as it is a tricky one and want to make sure it isn't an issue for him throughout the season."
Harper, who is 8 for 19 with two homers and six RBIs over his last six against the Phillies, is 6 for 12 versus Kendrick. Ian Desmond is 10 for 23 with two homers against the right-hander, who is 4-5 with a 4.75 ERA in 17 starts versus the Nationals.
Jimmy Rollins has four homers in his last eight games against Washington.
|May 22, 2013||Chase Utley||Day-to-Day||Sore Ribcage|
|May 21, 2013||Chase Utley||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Sore left knee|
|May 20, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 19, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|May 12, 2013||Mike Adams||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Mattheus||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Mattheus||Day-to-Day||Broken right hand|
|May 16, 2013||Wilson Ramos||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|May 14, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Jammed left shoulder|
|May 11, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Ingrown toenail|
|May 10, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals didn't have a close shave, and neither did Davey Johnson.
The 70-year-old manager still looked closer to 80 after the Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Friday night, sporting the scraggly beginnings of facial hair he had vowed to keep until his team started hitting.
Five runs weren't enough, even though it was the most the Nationals had scored in a week. There was also a four-run fifth, the first time Washington had put up four or more in an inning in almost a month.
Johnson said he told a couple of his players: "It's getting close to coming off."
Their response: "They said it can't come off yet,"
"My wife, she probably wants me to take it off, I'm sure she does," Johnson said. "But I might leave it on, see if this is not something strange happening here."
The outburst of hitting provided the rare gift of a cushion for Jordan Zimmermann , who became the National League's first eight-game winner as Washington followed a calamitous road trip with a winning start to a homestand.
Zimmermann (8-2), pitching with a stiff neck that limited his control of his fastball, allowed two runs and six hits with no walks over seven innings - actually raising his ERA to 1.71 - on an unseasonably chilly and windy night in the nation's capital.
"I kind of cut him a little shorter than I normally would," Johnson said. "He still threw a heck of a ball game."
There was at least a bit of heat from the Nationals' lineup, which entered the game hitting .225, second worst in the majors. Washington had just completed a 10-game West Coast road trip that included a four-game losing streak, the team's sixth shutout loss of the season, Bryce Harper 's head-first collision with a wall and a broken hand for Ryan Mattheus after he punched his locker following a rough outing.
Then Johnson arrived at the ballpark Friday saying: "I decided I wouldn't shave until we started hitting."
If Johnson does pull out the razor, Steve Lombardozzi should get due credit. Playing second while Danny Espinosa recovers from a broken wrist, Lombardozzi had three hits, including a two-out, two-run double that capped the rally in the four-run fifth.
"We score on pass balls, groundballs or short fly balls," Johnson said. "We haven't been getting base hits. To score five runs, we've been kind of stuck on none or one or two, so that was a big shot in the arm."
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (4-3) had his shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs and eight hits over five innings. He walked four for the second consecutive start, including three consecutive bases on balls that allowed the Nationals to score a run in the second with a sacrifice fly and no hits.
"Command was bad, threw a lot of balls, didn't get ahead in the count," Kendrick said. "Another one of those nights where it was 2-0, just behind the count, and I threw a lot of pitches."
The Phillies missed a chance to pull even in two ways. A win would have put them at .500 for the first time since April 14, and it also would have tied them with the Nationals, who had lost four of five and have been mired in mediocrity while dealing with the expectations of Johnson's preseason proclamation of "World Series or bust."
"Obviously, we've kind of been up and down all year," Kendrick said. "We had a chance to get it back tonight. Had a couple runs there and I couldn't hold it."
Notes: Rafael Soriano picked up his 14th save. ... Washington's last four-run inning came April 25 against the Cincinnati Reds . ... Headgear on both players when flying when Tyler Moore crashed into Kratz while trying to score on Lombardozzi's single in the fourth inning. Kratz held on to the ball, and Moore was out. ... Both teams are missing star power. The Phillies don't have Roy Halladay (shoulder surgery) and Chase Utley (oblique strain), while the Nationals are making do without Jayson Werth (hamstring) and Espinosa, who learned Friday that he's been playing with a slight fracture in his right wrist and will need a few days of rest, if not more. ... The Nationals plan to bring up INF-OF Jeff Kobernus from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday and will likely designate RHP Yunesky Maya for assignment. ... Philadelphia recalled INF-OF Michael Martinez and RHP Michael Stutes to replace Utley (disabled list) and RHP Phillippe Aumont (optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley). ... Phillies RHP Mike Adams (right back strain) felt fine after a second rehab bullpen session Friday and is expected to be reactivated Sunday. ... Washington LHP Ross Detwiler will throw a full bullpen session Saturday and remains on pace to return to the rotation Tuesday after skipping one start because of back spasms.
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP