Werth's two-run single lifts Nationals over Phillies 5-4
WASHINGTON (AP) Jayson Werth helped the Washington Nationals reach a new high this season while sending the Philadelphia Phillies to their lowest point of the year.
Werth's two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning off Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez sealed a 5-4 victory Sunday and three-game sweep for Washington, which moved 15 games over .500 for the first time this year.
''No matter what he's doing or how he's playing, he's been a clutch man all these years,'' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. ''A clutch man knows how to come through and a clutch man loves to be in that situation.''
The Phillies (29-34) fell to a season-high five games under .500 and have lost 17 of their last 22 games.
The shadows had set in during the rare Sunday late afternoon game at Nationals Park, and Werth said he initially struggled to pick up the ball and needed three pitches before he had an idea where Gomez's pitches were coming from. But he belted a 2-2 fastball to center to score pinch hitter Bryce Harper and shortstop Danny Espinosa.
''He stayed with the fastball,'' Werth said. ''I was surprised. That guy has good offspeed - a good changeup and a slider. He ran a heater back over the plate a little bit and I just smacked it up the middle.''
Gomez (2-2) blew only his second save in 21 opportunities this season.
''When you have bases loaded, you don't want to make a mistake,'' Gomez said. ''I made a mistake. I threw a fastball that was supposed to be down outside. It was up outside and he got the base hit.''
Jonathan Papelbon (1-2) earned the victory despite giving up a home run to former teammate Maikel Franco to lead off the ninth inning. The Nationals acquired Papelbon from Philadelphia last year.
Gomez surrendered a one-out infield single to Harper, who barely beat out a high throw on a play that was reviewed and upheld. Espinosa then singled, and pinch hitter Clint Robinson walked with two outs to load the bases.
''Our pinch hitters came through, big-time,'' Baker said. ''That was a huge hustle play by Harp.''
The Phillies are 3-13 since May 27, including a combined 1-11 record against Washington and the Chicago Cubs.
''It tells us that they're better teams than we are right now,'' Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. ''We've got to improve our offense. Our pitching has to stabilize and we can't afford to make mistakes. Our offense obviously is a big issue. We have to score more runs.''
Meanwhile, the Nationals (39-24) matched the 1979 and 1994 Montreal Expos for the best 63-game start in franchise history and extended their lead in the National League East to 4 1/2 games.
''The next step is 20 games over,'' Baker said. ''You just keep trying to stack pennies and after a while you've got some dollars.''
STARTING SUITS TAYLOR
Nationals OF Michael A. Taylor led off the game with a single, giving him a hit in 14 consecutive starts since May 3.
Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan had lost five consecutive starts and struggled early with his control, but recovered to strike out a career-high eight in 6 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 10. He allowed only three baserunners after Espinosa's homer to lead off the second inning, and threw 17 balls in the first inning and 20 afterward.
Phillies: Franco was attended to by the team's athletic training staff after landing awkwardly after tagging out Chris Heisey in a rundown in the fourth inning, but remained in the game.
Nationals: RHP Matt Belisle, on the disabled list since April 27 with a right calf strain, remains on a rehabilitation assignment. Belisle has pitched in nine minor league games since May 23.
Phillies: Jerad Eickhoff (3-8, 3.68 ERA) faces the Blue Jays for the first time in his career as Philadelphia begins a two-game series in Toronto on Monday.
Nationals: The Cubs visit for three games starting Monday. The Cubs swept four games from Washington last month in Chicago and walked Harper 13 times during that series.