A.J. Burnett threw 93 pitches over six innings, striking out seven, walking two, and giving up just one run before being interrupted by a 24 minute rain delay. Burnett’s strong performance was more than enough to carry the Phils over the Washington Nationals 7-2.
Offense Strikes Early, Again. Does Not Relent.
In what felt like deja vu, the Phillies jumped out to a three-run, first-inning lead for the second night in a row. Tonight, the Big Piece took Tanner Roark deep, scoring Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. The offense added some insurance after seeing a 3-0 first inning lead evaporate yesterday. Cody Asche sent a Roark pitch into the stands in the second to extend the lead to 4-0, Carlos Ruiz drove in Domonic Brown on a double to left in the fifth to extend the lead to five, and Marlon Byrd pushed the lead to 7-0 in the fifth with a two-run single off of Ryan Mattheus.
Adam LaRoche, who had two of the three hits Burnett allowed, took Burnett deep in the sixth to cut the lead to 7-1. LaRoche’s success likely surprised few: entering the game, LaRoche was hitting .348/.444/.565 in 27 PA against Burnett.
Mario Hollands replaced Burnett after the rain delay and gave up a Zach Walters solo homer after getting two ground ball outs. Mike Adams bounced back from his worst outing of the young season with a perfect eighth, including two Ks. Antonio Bastardo struck out the side after Ian Desmond reached on a Cody Asche error in the ninth.
Rollins Has Big Night, Byrd Remain Hot
Rollins was 4-5 with 2 runs scored. With that offensive output, Rollins now ranks second among all MLB shortstops in fWAR for 2014, trailing only the scorching hot Troy Tulowitzki. Byrd is 16 for his last 43 (.372) with 2 HR and 12 RBI in that stretch. With 22 RBI, Byrd is tied for fifth in the NL with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon and San Francisco’s Mike Morse.
Burnett earned the win, the first Phillies starter to win a decision at home in 2014. In striking out the side, Bastardo raised his K/9 IP for his career above 11, making him the Phillies leader in that category for pitchers with above 90 IP. Among Phillies with 200 or more IP, the next closest pitcher to Bastardo in K/9 IP is Cliff Lee, who trails Bastardo by over 2 K/9 IP.
The Phillies look to win the series against the Nationals tomorrow when Roberto Hernandez will start in place of Cole Hamels (flu symptoms, will start Tuesday instead) against former Phillies’ prospect Gio Gonzalez. Tomorrow’s game starts at 3:05 PM to accommodate those participating in the Broad Street Run. The Phillies are now just 2 and 1/2 games behind the Braves for first place in the NL East.