- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Phillies were hurt by defensive miscues in their latest loss.

The Nationals scored the game-winning run on a passed ball and Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high nine in seven strong innings to lead Washington to its eighth straight victory, 3-2 over Philadelphia in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday.

Jeff Francoeur homered for the Phillies, who dropped their third straight. Philadelphia, playing in its second game under interim manager Pete Mackanin after Ryne Sandberg resigned on Friday, fell to 7-17 in June.

The game was part of a traditional doubleheader, with the second game scheduled to start 30 minutes after the first. The doubleheader was made necessary with Saturday’s rainout after 1½ innings.

Francoeur’s error in right field led to a Nationals run, and the Phillies made two poor defensive plays in the fourth inning that led to hits.

“It’s unacceptable,” Mackanin said of the fourth-inning plays.

Those plays lengthened the game for Kevin Correia (0-2.). Correia, making his fourth start for the Phillies, gave up three runs, one earned, and seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 5 1-3 innings.

He knew he’d have to limit any runs the way Strasburg was pitching.

“He kind of has it going again, and you have to limit the runs as much as possible,” Correia said. “We were in the game and that’s what I was looking for.”

Strasburg and the Nationals got some help from Philadelphia’s defense.

The Nationals scored a run in the sixth on a passed ball. Michael Taylor’s double off Correia scored Clint Robinson to put Washington up 2-1.

Dan Uggla moved to third on the play and scored when reliever Jake Diekman’s pitch bounced off the glove of catcher Cameron Rupp to make it 3-1.

The Phillies got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Francoeur’s RBI single.

But the Phillies couldn’t get anything else off Strasburg (5-5), who allowed two runs and four hits with one walk in his second good outing since returning from the disabled list. He retired the side in the seventh while striking out his final two batters. He set a season-high with 113 pitches.

Francoeur’s fifth homer of the season leading off the second put Philadelphia ahead 1-0.

The Nationals tied it in the fifth with some help from Francoeur. Denard Span hit a liner to the right-field corner.

Francoeur first bobbled the ball trying to pick it up and the ball then fell out of his hand as he tried to throw it back to the infield, going about eight feet in front of him and drawing gasps from the crowd and a wry smile from Francoeur.

Span was credited with a double and went to third on Francoeur’s error. He scored on Danny Espinosa’s sacrifice fly.

The Phillies gave up two singles that could have been outs in the fourth. Shortstop Freddy Galvis didn’t cover second base on Uggla’s grounder up the middle, forcing Cesar Hernandez to throw to first. Hernandez took too much time and Uggla beat out the throw.

“You have to know who’s running and you have to get the ball to one place or another,” Mackanin said.

On the next batter, Maikel Franco failed to properly cover third on Ian Desmond’s grounder to deep short and Desmond was credited for a single on what could have been another out.

Uggla had three hits and Taylor had two hits with a double and an RBI for the Nationals.


Strasburg struggled in May, going 1-3 with an 8.00 ERA in five starts, and was placed on the disabled list with neck tightness following his May 29 start. He returned last Tuesday against Atlanta and pitched five shutout innings, giving up four hits, in a 3-1 win.

“He pitched great,” Washington manager Matt Williams said. “We stretched him to (113) pitches and he had his good fastball even in the last inning. It’s nice that he’s healthy. It’s important for him to stretch it today and also important for our whole team.”


Franco snapped an 0-for-10 slide with a sixth-inning single. The skid came on the heels of going 6-for-8 with three homers and 10 RBIs last week in the first two games of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.


Nationals: 2B Yunel Escobar (bruised left hand) wasn’t in the lineup after getting hit by a pitch on Friday night. Bryce Harper (hamstring) returned after missing two games and Span (back spasms) came back after sitting out Friday’s game.


Nationals: After a day off Monday, Washington opens a series at Atlanta on Tuesday with RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 3.42) facing Braves RHP Shelby Miller (5-3, 1.94).

Phillies: Philadelphia begins a four-game home series Monday night against the Brewers with RHP Sean O’Sullivan (1-5, 5.34) opposing Milwaukee RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-8, 4.34).

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