- Associated Press - Saturday, May 3, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A.J. Burnett isn’t much for numbers except when it comes to strikeouts.

Ryan Howard and Cody Asche homered, and Burnett fanned seven in six solid innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies over the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Saturday night.

Jimmy Rollins had four hits and Marlon Byrd doubled and drove in a pair of runs for Philadelphia. The Phillies won for just the third time in 11 games against the Nationals.

“Good offense up and down the lineup, good starting pitching and good bullpen,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Real good combination.”

Adam LaRoche and Zach Walters homered for Washington.

The game was delayed for 24 minutes because of heavy rain, lightning and thunder after the sixth. Burnett didn’t return after the weather cleared, having thrown 93 pitches.

Burnett (2-1) gave up one run on three hits and walked two. The right-hander had seven strikeouts to up his career total to 2,215, moving past Jim Palmer into 52nd all-time.

“I do take pride in my strikeouts, so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

The 37-year-old has relied on precise control, more than power, to accumulate strikeouts in the latter stages of his career.

“I used to do that,” Burnett said of being a power pitcher. “I’m old now so I’ve got to try to pitch. I’ve had the good hook through my career and being able to change the angle on it has been big. A couple of years ago, I began throwing the two-seamer (fastball) and it’s been big for me.”

And he has been doing it lately while battling a hernia. He has a 0.98 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings since the injury was diagnosed four starts ago.

“It’s there,” Burnett said of the pain. “It bugged me all day and the next few days it’s gone. It comes and goes and it’s something I have to deal with.”

Said Sandberg, “He’s just a battler and gets after it.”

Tanner Roark (2-1) had the poorest start of his two-year career, allowing seven runs on seven hits in four-plus innings.

The runs and innings were career-worsts for Roark, who was making his 11th major league start.

Story Continues →