- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson allowed two hits over seven innings, his teammates eventually took advantage of Washington’s sloppiness to push across some runs, and the Phillies beat Bryce Harper and the Nationals 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia, which entered the series below .500, will try to complete a three-game sweep of the NL East-leading Nationals on Thursday.

Unbothered by the temperature in the low 50s or intermittent drizzles, Hellickson (2-1) struck out eight and lowered his 2016 ERA from 5.21 to 3.81. He gave up NL batting leader Daniel Murphy’s ground-rule double in the second inning and Danny Espinosa’s 500th career hit on a bunt single in the fifth — and that was it.

All in all, much better than Hellickson’s previous appearance against the Nationals, 12 days earlier in Philadelphia, when he gave up five earned runs in three innings during a 9-1 loss.

Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year for the Tampa Bay Rays, struck out reigning NL MVP Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Murphy in the fourth inning Wednesday, then made it four consecutive Ks by getting Jayson Werth swinging to begin the fifth.

Harper went 0 for 2 and walked twice, raising his total to five free passes in the series.

Jeanmar Gomez pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Washington’s Gio Gonzalez (1-1) breezed through the first three innings on 36 pitches, giving up one hit. But there were signs of trouble in the fourth, when a single, walk and wild pitch put runners at second and third before Gonzalez got out of the jam.

In the sixth, Gonzalez again allowed a single, walk and wild pitch, and this time Darin Ruf’s sacrifice fly to deep center drove in the game’s first run.

The Phillies made it 2-0 an inning later with an unearned run, set up by two singles and a sac bunt that put runners at second and third with one out. Peter Bourjos then hit a chopper to third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was playing in and should have had a play at home. But Rendon’s sidearm throw to catcher Jose Lobaton was way too high, earning an error and allowing Cesar Hernandez to score.

After Gonzalez walked his final batter to load the bases, reliever Sammy Solis — brought up from the minors before the game — got Freddy Galvis to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Solis served up Carlos Ruiz’s third homer — one more than the catcher hit in all of 2015 — in the eighth.

Hernandez’s bat broke when he fouled off a pitch in the seventh, and a splintered piece of the lumber wound up dangling from the netting that protects the seats behind home plate — staying there through game’s end.

Phillies right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton will miss the rest of the season because of a torn left hamstring and is scheduled for surgery next Monday. Recovery time is expected to be at least six months. Philadelphia has not announced a starter to replace him against Cleveland on Friday.

Nationals right-handed pitcher Matt Belisle went on the 15-day DL a day after straining his right calf during a relief appearance. Solis was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse; he gives Washington three lefties in the bullpen.

Center fielder Ben Revere, on the DL since hurting his right oblique on opening day, will head out for a rehab assignment and could be back with the Nationals as soon as next week’s series at the Cubs.

In Thursday’s series finale, Nationals right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.63 ERA) pitches for the first time since recording a career-high 15 strikeouts against the Minnesota Twins. Right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola (1-2, 4.50) starts for the Phillies.

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