Zimmerman hits slam in 9th; Nats beat Phillies 8-4

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Until the last few minutes, the Phillies were in firm control. Kyle Kendrick, getting an unexpected start after a long rain delay, allowed two runs over six innings.

The teams started by playing all of 5 minutes of baseball with a background of thunder and lightning before a massive storm hit _ it was an interesting choice for the officials to start the game when they did.

“I was surprised they started the game,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “You could tell it was going to rain, I guess. I could. I’m not a weatherman.”

After a delay of 2 hours, 22 minutes, scheduled starter Roy Oswalt was scratched in favor of Kendrick, who had been slated to pitch Saturday. In the fluky world of baseball, Kendrick was credited with a game starting as a pitcher but not as a batter, while Oswalt started as a batter but not as a pitcher _ even though he didn’t perform either task.

Oswalt will now start Saturday.

Washington starter Livan Hernandez was pitching to his fourth batter when everyone but the grounds crew headed for cover, and he stayed in the game when play resumed. The Phillies hit him hard in a four-run third, sending nine men to the plate and getting a season-high seven hits in an inning.

NOTES: Zimmerman reached base for his 25th straight game. … Phillies CF Shane Victorino served the second game of his two-game suspension for his part in a benches-clearing brawl at San Francisco on Aug. 5. … Howard returned after missing one game with a strained hand muscle. Ruiz was back after sitting out two games with a groin injury. … Washington’s Michael Morse didn’t start because of swelling in his left elbow, but he flew out to left as a pinch hitter in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base. … Nationals’ prospect Bryce Harper was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He was hurt in Double-A Harrisburg’s win at Akron on Thursday. Johnson said Harper will probably miss the rest of the minor league season.

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Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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