By James Kenney
On Memorial Day, the Nationals traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies for the first game of a three game series. The Nats looked to surge back after splitting a four game set with the St. Louis Cardinals. Last evening’s contest featured pitchers Tanner Roark and former ace Jeremy Hellickson in an unlikely rubber match.
The first run of the game was plated by Hellickson helping himself. With one out in the bottom of the second, Hellickson sacrifice bunt trickled up the first baseline and scored second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
Two innings later in the top of the fourth, potential MVP candidate Daniel Murphy laced a line drive off a Hellickson fastball into the centerfield seats. Murphy’s solo shot tied the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Phillies retook the lead after infielder Freddy Galvis launched a solo homerun off of a Roark breaking ball. It was one of only four hits surrendered by Roark on the evening.
Outfielder Jayson Werth tied the game at two with a lined double into left field that scored shortstop Danny Espinosa. With two outs and the bases loaded later in the inning, Murphy continued his stellar offensive performance this season with a single that scored former Philadelphia outfielders Ben Revere and Werth. Murphy’s second of three hits and three RBI gave the Nats a 4-2 lead.
Another former Phillie, closer Jonathan Papelbon, came on for the bottom of the ninth. After a double by infielder Maikel Franco, he scored after a follow-up double by first baseman and Nat killer Ryan Howard, making it a 4-3 game. Papelbon would hunker down and retire the next three batters to end the game.
Righties Joe Ross and Aaron Nola look for their fifth wins on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.