Reporting Byron Kerr
Washington came back in the bottom of the ninth inning to stun the first-place Philadelphia Phillies on a walk-off grand slam by Ryan Zimmerman, capping a six run rally, and lifting the Nationals to an 8-4 win before 37,841 at Nationals Park.
It didn’t start out well for the Nationals.
After a two hour, twenty-two minute rain delay, the Phillies attacked Livan Hernandez with five straight hits in the top of the third. Jimmy Rollins doubled, John Mayberry tripled, Chase Utley doubled, Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence singled to put Philadelphia up 3-0.
After a fielder’s choice by Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz raked a single to right field and the Phillies led 4-0. Wilson Valdez followed with another single of Hernandez, but Jayson Werth made an outstanding throw from right field to gun down Ibanez at the plate on a nice tag by catcher Wilson Ramos. The seven hits by the Phillies in the third represented a season-high.
Roy Oswalt was on the lineup card for the Phillies, but after the long delay, manager Charlie Manuel turned to Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick did fine until the third himself, when a Wilson Ramos single was later followed by an Ian Desmond double that skimmed off the glove of Mayberry in center, and the Phillies lead was trimmed to 4-1.
In the fifth, Wilson Ramos crushed the first pitch from Kendrick over the left field wall to cut the advantage to 4-2, Phillies.
The Nationals rallied in the bottom of the ninth off of Phillies closer Ryan Madson. Werth hit a 3-2 pitch for a clean single to left to lead off the inning. Danny Espinosa followed with a bloop single in front of Mayberry. Jonny Gomes then slapped an RBI single to left to cut the Phillies edge to 4-3.
Ramos sacrificed the runners up for the first out. Pinch-hitter Jesus Flores was intentionally walked to load the bases. Desmond followed with a dramatic bloop single to right that tied the game at 4-4.
After Rick Ankiel struck out, Zimmerman’s grand slam ended it.