Werth Homers As Phillies Fall to Nationals

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    Jayson Werth went 2 for 3 with a home run and a double in his debut against the Phillies tonight at Nationals Park. The Phillies dropped the series opener 7-4, which marks the third consecutive series, all against NL East opponents, that the Phillies have lost game one.

    The night started off promising, as Ryan Howard hit an opposite field shot into the left field seats to give the Phillies an early lead. Unfortuntely, Joe Blanton's struggles from his last start continued tonight. After quickly tying the game at one in the bottom of the second, the Nationals added three runs in the bottom of the fourth, and didn't look back. Back-to-back doubles by Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos highlighted the inning, as well as a bases loaded RBI bunt by Livan Hernandez. Werth added another in the fifth with a solo home run that landed just over the wall and inside the left field foul pole.

    The Phillies' bats were as cold as the temperatures outside and unable to muster much offense against Livan Hernandez. (He's still pitching?) With the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh, Livan struck out John Mayberry Jr. on a slow curveball for the second out of the inning. Tyler Clippard relieved Livan after six and two-thirds, and proceeded to strike out Shane Victorino on a fastball to end the threat.

    A controversial moment occured in the top of the fourth, when second baseman Danny Espinosa tagged Jimmy Rollins with an empty glove for the second out of the inning. Umpire Tom Hallion completely missed the play, ruling that J-Roll was out. Ben Francisco's single on the next pitch would have given the Phillies a 2-1 lead at the time. Instead, the Nationals rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Other notes: Antonio Bastardo's first appearance since his six-strikeout performance in Atlanta did not go as well. He walked two in a third of an inning. Matt Stairs went hitless in his first start of the season at first base. Michael Martinez failed to reach base in a pinch-hit situation against his former team.

Tomorrow: Roy Halladay will take on the Nationals at 7:05 PM.

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