- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — Washington Nationals right-hander Jason Bergmann probably deserves a better fate.

Last night Bergmann turned in his third straight quality start, allowing just one earned run on three hits in six innings, but he wound up with his third straight no-decision as the Nationals lost 6-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies before 24,745 at Citizens Bank Park.

The Nationals’ Micha Bowie (0-1) took the loss after hitting Chase Utley and walking Pat Burrell in the eighth. The Phillies’ Wes Helms then delivered the game-winning RBI with a one-out single off of Jon Rauch.

Rauch also gave up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Aaron Rowand and an RBI single to catcher Carlos Ruiz.

“I was just trying to get a ball in there on him, and it was a little too far in,” Bowie said of hitting Utley.

Bergmann threw a season-low 87 pitches, walking just two and striking out five. When he left after the sixth inning with Washington leading 3-2, Bergmann was in position to win his first game of the season.

But usually reliable reliever Saul Rivera surrendered a game-tying homer to Aaron Rowand to open the seventh before Bowie and Rauch lost the game in the eighth. Before last night, Rivera hadn’t allowed a run this season since getting called up April 12.

Bergmann, who was battling cold-like symptoms, said he was more than willing to pitch in the seventh inning.

“The manager made the decision, and that’s why he’s the manager,” Bergmann said.

Said Nationals manager Manny Acta: “We felt that in that inning he was starting to lose it. He got into a big mess after two outs and nobody on with an 0-2 count. So we tried to take him out on a positive note.”

For the second time in less than a week, the Nationals (6-14) faced the soft-throwing Jamie Moyer. Last Thursday at RFK Stadium, the left-handed Moyer fooled the Nationals, taking a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning before getting pulled for Tom Gordon in a 4-2 Phillies victory.

This time, Moyer didn’t have as much success. Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second when Ryan Church’s double off the right-center field scoreboard drove in Austin Kearns. Kearns was on after the second triple of his career.

The Nationals took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when Ronnie Belliard’s double just inside the third-base bag scored Felipe Lopez from first. Catcher Brian Schneider made it 3-1 in the sixth when his RBI single to center scored Kearns, who led off the inning with a double down the left-field line for his 500th hit.

Early on, the game was shaping up to be a pitching duel between the 25-year-old Bergmann and the 44-year-old Moyer. Bergmann was only 4 years old when Moyer, then pitching for the Chicago Cubs, earned his first win in his big league debut on June 16, 1986, against the Phillies.

The Phillies scored their first run of the game in controversial fashion. With two outs in the second, Phillies third baseman Wes Helms stroked a ground ball just inside the third-base bag. Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made a nifty stop going to his right, but first baseman Dmitri Young’s foot was ruled off the bag when he stretched to catch Zimmerman’s throw.

Rowand, the next batter, doubled to right-center field and knocked in Helms for a 1-1 tie.

Televised replays clearly showed Young’s foot remained on the base and that Zimmerman’s throw beat Helms by 11/2 steps.

The Phillies (8-11) scored their second run of the game in the sixth. Utley started things off with a two-out double off the base of the center-field fence when left fielder Michael Restovich was unable to come up with a sliding catch on the warning track. Pat Burrell then doubled to left, driving in Utley and cutting the Nationals’ lead to 3-2.

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