Phillies win 8-6, complete sweep of Nationals

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Philadelphia Phillies&#39; outfielders, from left, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, celebrate as they walk in after the Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 in a baseball game Sunday, July 12, 2009, in Philadelphia. &#40;AP Photo&#47;Tom Mihalek&#41;  </span></div>
May 17, 2009 3:44:51 PM PDT
A four-game series of perilous pitching and dodgy fielding mercifully came to an end Sunday, with the Philadelphia Phillies completing a sweep of the worst-in-NL staff of the Washington Nationals. A two-base error on an eighth-inning bunt provided the go-ahead run as the Phillies won 8-6, capping a series that included 55 runs, 42 walks and enough long innings to make any fan restless.

Sergio Escalona (1-0), called up overnight from Double-A Reading, got the win in his major league debut by throwing one scoreless inning of middle relief, practically a standout performance among the only two National League clubs with team ERAs over 5.00.

Trailing 6-5 in the top of the eighth, the Phillies got the first two men on base against reliever Julian Tavarez (0-3), and Pedro Feliz tried to bunt them over. Pitcher Jesus Colome fielded the ball and threw accurately to first, but second baseman Anderson Hernandez - who was covering the bag - inexplicably moved out of the way at the last second and let the ball go into right field. Two runs scored, and Colome was given a two-base error.

Both teams tallied at least five runs in every game of the series, which including a rain-shortened nightcap of a day-night doubleheader Saturday. The Phillies, already the NL's top scoring team on the road this season, finished with 33 runs in the series' 35 innings.

The pitchers - and there were a combined 11 of them used Sunday - were so unpredictable that home plate umpire Mike Reilly warned both dugouts in the fifth inning after Josh Willingham became the third hit batter of the game.

There was also a disputed near miss - Shane Victorino claimed he was brushed on the forearm and continued to argue his case after striking out on the following pitch.

The first inning lasted 37 minutes and ended in a 3-3 draw. Phillies starter Chan Ho Park was done after 1 1-3 innings, having walked four and thrown two wild pitches to go with his five hits and five runs allowed, raising his ERA to 7.08. Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann settled down after the first and made it through five innings, allowing five runs before turning the game over to Washington's dicey bullpen.

Brad Lidge got the final two outs in the ninth for his seventh save, his second straight scoreless outing after six straight in which he had allowed at least one run.

The Phillies spread their offense around, with the top seven batters each reaching base at least once. Nationals leadoff hitter Cristian Guzman got three hits to raise his average to .381.

Notes: Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman reached base safely in his 35th consecutive game. The franchise record is 46 by Rusty Staub with the Montreal Expos in 1969-70. ... Philadelphia reliever J.C.

Romero, serving the latter part of a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, will begin a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is eligible to return to the Phillies on June 3. ... Washington OF Austin Kearns missed his third straight game after getting hit by a pitch on the left hand Friday night. ... Fifteen of Philadelphia's 20 victories have been come-from-behind wins, most in the majors. ... Nationals CF Elijah Dukes aggravated his tight left hamstring while running out a double in the first inning. He was replaced in the top of the second and is day-to-day.

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