- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Nationals last night were rained out for the first time this season, and they picked up ground in the playoff race in the process.

After two separate rain delays that totaled 2 hours, 55 minutes, the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park was called off. It was rescheduled for tomorrow as part of a day-night doubleheader starting at 1:05 and 7:05p.m.

With the washout, the Nationals moved to within 4 games of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and are now a half game behind the Houston Astros in the wild-card race. Atlanta lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 and the Astros lost to the Chicago Cubs 4-1.

“That’s the way things go sometimes and that’s what you need, you need some breaks,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “And it couldn’t have broken any better with the other teams in this division, and as far as Houston is concerned, not winning tonight.”

Last night’s scheduled starters, Washington’s Ryan Drese (3-6, 4.69 ERA) and Philadelphia’s Cory Lidle (9-10, 4.61), will start tomorrow’s second game.

Nationals right-hander Esteban Loaiza (7-8, 3.54) will face Phillies ace Jon Lieber (11-10, 4.92) tonight, and Tony Armas Jr. (7-5, 4.33) is scheduled to pitch against Philadelphia’s Vicente Padilla (5-11, 4.65) in tomorrow’s afternoon game.

Drese got off to a rocky start last night. The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on three consecutive singles with one out in the first inning before the game was interrupted by rain and eventually called.

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