WASHINGTON — Lacking an explanation for why so many line drives went straight at Philadelphia fielders’ gloves Friday night, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams turned to Hollywood.
“I think Susan Sarandon said it: ‘Hit it where they ain’t,'” he said. “We didn’t do a very good job of that tonight.”
Despite a flurry of well-hit balls, the Nationals’ offense managed only an unearned run off starter Roberto Hernandez in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies.
Doug Fister (10-3) took his first loss since June 15, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings, including Marlon Byrd’s go-ahead home run in the sixth.
Hernandez (6-8) allowed only five singles against the Nationals, who extended their club record to nine games without a home run, and retired his last 10 batters he faced and 17 of his last 18.
“He had good stuff all night and sunk the ball pretty good and kept us off balance, but we had our chances,” said Jayson Werth, who went hitless against Hernandez, including a liner to third in the sixth. “We just didn’t come through.”
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 26th save to give the Phillies back-to-back wins over NL-East leading Washington, which has lost four of five. After two one-out singles, Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera struck out.
Hernandez has two wins against Washington while allowing no earned runs over 15 1-3 innings.
He was fortunate Friday.
Cabrera lined into a double play at first in his first at-bat since arriving in a trade from Cleveland, then followed with liners to short and left field. Ian Desmond hit one to second base in the fourth, and Denard Span scorched one back to Hernandez, who somehow caught it by turning his glove back into his body.
“I don’t know how I caught that ball,” Hernandez said. “It was a lucky catch.”
Fister struck out five and walked two, and has allowed three runs or fewer in 13 of his 15 starts.
Byrd struck out his first two times against Fister before sending an 0-1 pitch to the opposite field with two outs in the sixth for his 21st homer.
“I left it over the plate a little bit too much,” Fister said. “I was kind of surprised he took it the other way, but it’s definitely one of those pitches I need to make sure was in.”
The Phillies took the lead in the second when Grady Sizemore doubled on a ball nearly caught by Harper and scored on Cody Asche’s single.
Washington tied it in the bottom of the inning when Adam LaRoche scored on Ian Desmond’s single after reaching third on a pop-up that fell for an infield single, followed by Asche’s two-base throwing error on the play.
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