PHILADELPHIA — A comfortable lead in the division helps the Washington Nationals minimize getting swept.
Pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the NL East-leading Nationals 8-4 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
The Nationals had won 12 of 13 before losing three in a row in Philadelphia. They still have the best record (75-57) in the NL and a 6½-game lead over Atlanta in the East.
“We’re still playing good baseball,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “We just lost a couple games. We know who we are.”
Denard Span was 3 for 4 and fell a triple short of the cycle for the Nationals. Doug Fister (12-5) allowed a season-high 10 hits and five runs — four earned — in 5 2-3 innings.
“With the exception of the last pitch, he was pretty good,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Marlon Byrd hit a two-run homer and Jimmy Rollins hit a solo shot to back Kyle Kendrick (7-11). The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
The last-place Phillies went 7-2 on their best homestand this season.
“We always have the same approach, win or lose,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “We look forward to the next one. We know if we do things correctly, we have a good chance to beat the other team.”
Byrd started Philadelphia’s rally in the sixth with a leadoff single. Domonic Brown lined an RBI double to right-center to cut the deficit to 4-3. Two outs later, Sizemore drove an 0-2 pitch into the right-field seats for a 5-4 lead and his first career pinch homer.
Fister left after hitting the next batter, Ben Revere, with an 89 mph fastball on his right arm. Revere went down in pain, but stayed in the game.
Byrd connected off Ross Detwiler in the seventh for his team-high 24th homer.
The Nationals took a 3-2 lead in the third when Jayson Werth singled in Span, who led off the inning with a double.
Span ripped a 427-foot homer off the railing in the second deck to make it 4-2 in the fifth. It was Span’s second homer this season in his 512th at-bat.
Rollins hit a towering drive into the right field seats for his 17th homer to cut it to 2-1 in the first. Chase Utley followed with a single to center. He scored when Span misplayed Ryan Howard’s single. The ball rolled past Span for an error and Howard ended up on second.