Reporting Byron Kerr
Nationals Laynce Nix crushed the go ahead home run, and made a diving catch in left field that saved multiple runs, to preserve a hard fought 2-1 win over the first place Philadelphia Phillies before 24,495 at Nationals Park.
Manager Jim Riggleman was impressed that Nix could make up so much ground to get that ball and save three runs.
“When that ball got hit I thought there was no way that ball was being caught,” Riggleman said. “I didn’t think wither outfielder had a chance. Laynce closed on it really well. He made a great play. It just looked like it was splitting the gap. It was hit okay and was in that area where you have no chance. But he tracked it and did a good job on it.”
Left-hander John Lannan notched his first ever win over the Phillies in 14 starts, spinning 5 and 1/3 innings, scattering four hits and allowing one unearned run. He struck out one and walked three for his first win since April 20. Lannan was 0-10 lifetime against the Phillies coming into Wednesday’s start.
Washington got on the board in the first against Phillies starters Roy Oswalt. A Jayson Werth RBI single scored Roger Bernadina to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
The Phillies tied the game in the second frame thanks to a Nationals miscue. Ryan Howard led off the inning with a double off of Lannan. He scored when Alex Cora couldn’t handle a Carlos Ruiz grounder inside third base and the game was tied at 1.
Laynce Nix crushed an Oswalt pitch with two outs in the third inning to put the Nationals up again, 2-1.
But Nix’s defensive play to end the sixth was spectacular. With the bases loaded and two outs, Phillies pinch-hitter Domonic Brown lofted a dying fly ball between left and center. Nix ran full speed to his left and dove parallel to the ground. He gloved the ball in mid air for the out to end the threat.