May 24, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Gio Gonzalez turned the page on a pair of consecutive poor outings with one of his best games of the season on Sunday afternoon as the Nationals shut down the Phillies lineup in a 4-1 victory, giving them their eighth consecutive series win.
The Phillies scored first in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Jeff Francoeur, but the Nats responded quickly to tie it in the bottom half of the frame. Their run came on back-to-back hits by Clint Robinson and Jose Lobaton.
The Nationals took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Yunel Escobar led off with a triple to right-center field. Bryce Harper quickly brought him home on a groundout to shortstop Freddy Galvis.
Harper and Ryan Zimmerman added two more runs with RBI hits in the bottom of the seventh. The Nats used Aaron Barrett, Matt Grace, Casey Janssen and Drew Storen to preserve their lead after Gonzalez left the game. Storen earned his 14th save of the season.
The Nationals moved to 26-18 on the year with the win, eight games above the .500 mark.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals were up a run entering the seventh inning, but they added two scores to their lead on big hits by Harper and Zimmerman. The rally began with a leadoff double by Span. He got his hit off Justin De Fratus.
Ian Desmond bunted Span to third and the Phillies brought lefty Jake Diekman in to face Harper. Harper lofted a bloop single down the left field line to score Span. Harper then scored on a double to right-center field by Zimmerman.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Gonzalez ran into trouble the second time through the lineup just like he did in his previous start against the Yankees, but this time Gio was able to adjust and limit the damage. He gave up his lone run in the top of the fourth after a rally started by a Galvis infield single. Galvis reached on a high throw to first by Ian Desmond on a very tough play up the middle.
Gio then walked Darin Ruf and two batters later allowed the hit to Francoeur. He was able to work his way out of the jam, however, and strand two runners by striking out Cesar Hernandez for the third out of the inning.
Gio finished with one earned run off seven scattered hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Gonzalez threw 94 pitches, 64 of them strikes. He moved to 4-2 on the season as his ERA dropped to 4.53.
KEY STAT: Harper’s walk in the third inning gave him 39 on the season through 44 games and 146 total at-bats. He had 38 walks last year in 100 games (352 ABs).
UP NEXT: The Nationals travel to Chicago to face the upstart Cubs at Wrigley Field. Monday will pit Illinois-native Tanner Roark (0-2, 2.66) against lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 3.86). The series will also showcase some of the best young players in the game with Harper playing against Kris Bryant and the Cubs’ collection of super-prospects. First pitch on Monday is at 2:20 p.m.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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