Alex Brandon

WASHINGTON (AP) Adam LaRoche homered twice, and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.

Scott Hairston hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly off Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels in the sixth inning. Hairston started in place of Bryce Harper because of his stellar numbers against the left-hander, who combined with three relievers for a no-hitter against Atlanta in his previous start.

Gio Gonzalez (8-9) allowed two runs in six-plus innings for the Nationals, who had lost five straight against the Phillies. Washington pushed its NL East lead over Atlanta back to seven games.

Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth for his second save, a day after manager Matt Williams said he had removed Rafael Soriano from the closer role.

Philadelphia lost for just the fourth time in 12 games.

Hamels (8-7) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He also had a costly balk that moved Ian Desmond to third before Hairston's tiebreaking fly ball to deep left.

Hairston is 18 for 48 for his career against Hamels with 10 RBIs. Harper entered in the seventh.

LaRoche's first home run tied it at 1 in the second, and snapped Hamels' stretch of nine innings without a hit allowed, including six in the no-hitter last Monday.

LaRoche went deep again in the fourth, tying it at 2 with a drive over the out-of-town scoreboard for his 23rd homer. He is 5 for 16 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last four games.

Darin Ruf's sacrifice fly put the Phillies ahead in the top of the fourth. Carlos Ruiz got it started with a leadoff double on a fly ball Denard Span lost in the sun in center field. Marlin Byrd then singled before Ruf's fly ball to right.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Gonzalez received a brief visit from a team trainer after he sprinted to avoid a double play in the fifth inning, but was cleared to continue.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-11, 4.77 ERA) starts against Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (6-4, 3.75 ERA) in Monday's opener of a four-game series against the Pirates. Kendrick is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA against the Pirates since 2011.

Nationals: RHP Doug Fister (12-6, 2.66 ERA) will try to snap a three-game losing streak when he faces LHP Mike Minor (6-9, 4.65 ERA) on Monday night in the first of three against Atlanta.

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