Neither Cliff Lee nor Danny Espinosa were themselves tonight. Lee looked more like Kyle Kendrick than anything else, and Espinosa, for one night only, turned into the second coming of Joe Morgan. The Phillies’ second ace continued a run of mortality, as he and Roy Halladay gave up four runs or more in consecutive starts for the first time all season. Lee allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits, two of them home runs by Espinosa, in only 5 1/3 innings, the first time he’d been knocked out before completing six since he was shelled in Atlanta in his second start of the year.
The result? The Nationals became the first team to score in double digits against the Phillies since a 12-11 win over the Rockies at Coors Field last Sept. 2, and emerged victorious over the Phillies by a score of 10-2.
Espinosa belted his ninth and tenth home runs of the year, a three-run shot to cap a five-run third and a solo shot to lead off the sixth. The third inning, which ended with the Phillies down five, happened, it seemed, in the blink of an eye, as the Nationals scored all five runs on only 14 pitches before batting around.
At first, it looked like the blow wouldn’t be fatal, as John Mayberry and Domonic Brown hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the fifth, then, four batters later, Chase Utley hit a two-out fly ball to right that missed being a home run by only a few feet. With several innings to go and Jason Marquis on the mound, a comeback was not out of the question.
Then everything truly went in the tank. First, Espinosa homered again in the sixth, then the Nats put up three more in the seventh off Danys Baez, then another in the eighth off Mike Zagurski, who pulled the unusual trick of walking a relief pitcher.
For those of you interested in silver linings, Dom Brown homered and doubled, and Placido Polanco continued to churn out single after single, adding two to the cause this evening. In all, it was a night to forget at Citizens Bank Park South. Roy Oswalt and John Lannan will face off tomorrow in the getaway game.