- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

Friday night likely marked the home farewell for Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. He was frank about how it ended.

The right-hander was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning after allowing six runs in Friday night’s 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, denying the Nationals Park crowd a final chance to show him their appreciation.

“I would have pulled me there, too,” Zimmermann said.

Philadelphia rookie Aaron Altherr had four hits, including an inside-the-park grand slam and a solo home run.

The Nationals have lost four consecutive games and trail the New York Mets by 8 1/2 games in the National League East. The Mets can clinch the division and a playoff berth with either a victory over the Cincinnati Reds or a Nationals loss to the Phillies on Saturday.



Zimmermann (13-9), who will be a free agent this offseason, took his first loss since Aug. 12 while striking out six batters and walking two.

His 70 career wins are the most by a Nationals pitcher since the franchise moved to Washington.

“Feel like I took the ball every time they asked, did what I could,” he said of his career in Washington. “Some days I didn’t have it, some days I was good.

“I’m not saying this is my last start. You don’t know what’s going to happen this offseason, so we’ll see.”

Zimmermann’s regular-season home finale was less memorable than a year ago, when he tossed a no-hitter.

He did, however, receive a warm ovation from the crowd when he walked in from the bullpen prior to the game.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It means a lot to me, and I just wish I could have gave them something a little better than that.”

Philadelphia rookie Jerad Eickhoff (2-3) won for the first time since his Aug. 21 debut, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out 10.

Altherr drove in five and capped his first four-hit game with a double in the seventh and a ninth-inning single. He legged out his grand slam when center fielder Michael A. Taylor whiffed diving for a sinking liner in the third.

Cody Asche had two hits, including a two-run home run, and Darin Ruf added a solo home run and a double for the Phillies, who had lost eight of nine.

Bryce Harper, hitless in his last four games, was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

The Phillies trailed, 1-0, when Altherr hit a low liner to center with the bases loaded. Taylor attempted a diving catch but missed, and the ball rolled toward the center field fence.

“In that situation, you better catch the ball, and I wouldn’t have gone for it if I didn’t think I could,” Taylor said. “Still a bad play once I miss it.”

As left fielder Jayson Werth retrieved the ball, the bases cleared and Altherr raced all the way around, sliding home to complete the grand slam.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was asked if he’d ever seen an inside-the-park grand slam.

“I’m sure I have over 47 years,” he said. “But I can’t remember. I hit into a triple play once.”

It was the first inside-the-park grand slam since the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ Randy Winn had one against the New York Yankees on Oct. 3, 1999.

Right-hander Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.84) allowed six runs in five innings in a loss to Washington on Sept. 14. He’ll be opposed on Saturday by right-hander Stephen Strasburg (10-7, 3.81), who gave up one hit over eight innings in beating the Phillies on Sept. 15. He’s allowed four runs over his last three starts while striking out 37 batters in 22 1/3 innings.

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