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Zimmermann Pitches Well, Nats Fall Short to Phils

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(Photo credit: Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA — When they didn’t take Cliff Lee deep, the Washington Nationals didn’t score much this week.

Kyle Kendrick outpitched All-Star Jordan Zimmermann, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Nationals 3-1 Thursday night.

Kendrick (8-6) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings to help Philadelphia take three of four from the defending NL East champions.

The Nationals scored five runs combined in the three losses. They hit four solo homers off Lee in a 5-1 win Wednesday night.

Zimmermann (12-4) was the victim of poor run support this time. He gave up two runs and eight hits, striking out six in 6 1-3 innings.

“My stuff was good,” he said. “On the pitch to Frandsen, I didn’t get the slider low enough and he just flicked it out there.”

Lack of timely hitting cost the Nationals in the series. They came in 0 for 16 with runners in scoring position before Jayson Werth hit a two-out single to left in the first inning. But All-Star Domonic Brown threw out fellow All-Star Bryce Harper trying to score from second.

“I couldn’t tell at first, but I found out later that the ball beat but he was safe,” Nats manager Davey Johnson said. “Good thing I didn’t see it or I would’ve been thrown out in the first inning.”

Zimmermann has been bothered by a neck problem and said he may skip the All-Star game next Tuesday at Citi Field.

“I’d like to pitch in the game, but I’d rather be healthy for the second half,” he said. “I’ll get massages the next few days and go from there.”

The Phillies are 7-3 since July 2, including series wins over first-place Pittsburgh and Atlanta, to pull within 1½ games of the second-place Nationals and one game of .500.

Antonio Bastardo pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 20th save in 24 tries. Papelbon blew two saves against the Nationals last month and allowed two runs in a 3-2 win Monday night.

Darin Ruf led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left-field line. Pinch-runner John McDonald advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Frandsen’s RBI double off center fielder Denard Span’s glove.

“Nine out of 10 times Span catches the ball,” Johnson said.

Frandsen is hitting .355 (11 for 31) with 10 RBIs as a pinch-hitter this season.

Kendrick overcame a season-high four errors by the Phillies with two double plays and nine groundouts. Chase Utley had a career-worst three errors.

“He rose to the occasion,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Zimmermann was real good. Kendrick was right there with him.”

Utley got the Phillies an insurance run in the eighth by hitting a double to start the inning, moving to third on a fly ball and sliding in safely just ahead of a throw to the plate on Michael Young’s grounder to second.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on Ben Revere’s RBI single in the fifth. Carlos Ruiz reached on an infield single, advanced on Kendrick’s sacrifice and scored on Revere’s liner to left-center.

The lead didn’t last long.

Harper hit a triple with one out in the sixth and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly to right.

NOTES: Werth was 2 for 4 and is batting .328 (40 for 122) with six doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs since returning from the DL on June 4. … Washington is 5-35 when scoring less than three runs. … Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45) pitches for the Nationals vs. Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.55) Friday night.

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