The Washington Nationals maintain one poor series doesn’t erase a very good start.
Jonathan Papelbon allowed a tiebreaking, two-run double to Cameron Rupp in a three-run ninth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Nationals, 3-0, on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
Philadelphia swept a series in Washington for the first time since May 2009.
“If every 21 games we went 14-7, I think we’d be all right,” Ryan Zimmerman said, “so I think everyone just needs to calm down.”
Aaron Nola, Dalier Hinojosa, Elvis Araujo and Jeanmar Gomez combined on a four-hitter and extended Washington’s scoreless streak to 22 innings.
“We hit some balls on the nose,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “We tried about everything, and it’s one of those days when not much worked our way, offensively or defensively.”
Odubel Herrera singled off Felipe Rivero to open the ninth inning and took third on Freddy Galvis’ double.
Maikel Franco was walked intentionally, and Papelbon entered to strike out pinch-hitter Darin Ruf. Rupp hit a drive to deep right that landed over a backpedaling Bryce Harper at the warning track, and David Lough’s run-scoring single boosted the lead
“I saw myself working my way out of that situation,” Papelbon said. “I really did. I felt real confident getting out of that situation and picking us up there, bases loaded, no outs.”
Gomez pitched a one-hit ninth for his seventh save in seven chances — his third in three days — getting Jayson Werth to ground into a game-ending double play.
“If somebody told me we’d start off 14-7, I’d be very, very happy,” Baker said. “We kind of spoiled everybody by starting the way we did, so we’ll get it back together.”
Philadelphia has won six of seven and at 12-10 moved two games over .500.
“It’s always sweet, especially sweeping these guys in your division,” Rupp said. “A lot of people write us off saying we don’t want to win. That’s not true. We come out here and play.”
In a game delayed by 36 minutes at the start because of rain, Harper went 1-for-4 on the fourth anniversary of his major-league debut. The National League MVP struck out against Araujo with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth.
Nola, 0-1 with a 7.80 ERA in three previous starts versus Washington, gave up two hits and struck out seven in seven innings.
Washington’s Tanner Roark, who struck out a career-high 15 in his previous outing, fanned six as he yielded two hits over seven innings for his second consecutive start.
Harper walked five times in the first two games of the series, but Nola challenged him with two outs and a runner on third in the sixth, getting a ground out.
“I mean, we can’t walk the guy every time,” Mackanin said. “Somebody’s got to be able to get him out and it’s nothing to nothing, middle of the game. I want to give our pitcher credit to get good hitters out.”
On the anniversary of Harper’s debut, Baker said his slugger was quick to adjust.
“When he got here he was over matched a little bit in the beginning which is usual and then he figured it out. He figured it out in a hurry,” Baker said. “He actually figured it out quicker than Barry Bonds did.”
Baker rested center fielder Michael Taylor and third baseman Anthony Rendon from his starting lineup, using Matt den Dekker in center and Stephen Drew at third. Rendon pinch hit in the eighth.
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