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Wilson powers Nationals as Hernandez claims 14th victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Washington is rolling to wins and rising in the standings on the road.

Preston Wilson homered twice, Livan Hernandez pitched eight strong innings and the Nationals won again on the road, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 Monday night.

The Nationals, knocked out of first place during a second-half slump, have turned things around away from home and put themselves in contention for the NL wild card. Coming off a three-game sweep in Colorado, Washington won its fourth in a row overall.

"I'm not going to jump on the wagon now and say, yes indeed, here we are," manager Frank Robinson said. "Certainly, it has been a nice mixture of good pitching and the offense has come to life."

Hernandez (14-5) stifled the surging Phillies and showed no effects of the balky right knee that's bothered him this season. Nick Johnson and Brian Schneider also homered for the Nationals.

After allowing a single to Bobby Abreu in the third, Hernandez retired eight consecutive batters before another single by Abreu in the seventh. He was wiped out on an inning-ending double play.

"The team is playing for first place in the wild card now, so we've got to keep fighting," Hernandez said.

Hernandez gave up two runs and five hits. Chad Cordero allowed an RBI single to Mike Lieberthal in the ninth.

"You come to expect such clean games by Livan that you're a little spoiled by it," Robinson said. "Right now, he's not as sharp as he has been, as he can be, and tonight with the run support, it made it a little easier for him."

The Nationals held a 2½-game lead in the NL East after an 8-7 win over the Phillies on July 8. The Phillies, though, won the next two games of the series and sent the Nationals into a second-half swoon. They lost 19 of 26 after the All-Star break until arriving in Colorado.

That July 8 win over the Phillies was Washington's season-high fifth in a row on the road.

The Phillies also have been wildly inconsistent since the break, though a three-game sweep in San Diego last weekend put the finishing touches on a 5-1 road trip and thrust the Phillies back into the wild-card race.

While Philadelphia sports fans might have been too distracted by the Terrell Owens sideshow to notice how well the Phillies were playing, they didn't exactly get a close look Monday.

Brett Myers (10-6) couldn't overcome three two-out homers. He gave up five runs, six hits and struck out five in six innings.

Wilson followed a two-out walk in the third with his second homer -- a disputed shot to right -- that made it 5-2. Abreu instantly protested that a fan reached over the fence and touched the ball. Manager Charlie Manuel came out to argue, and all four umpires huddled before standing by the original decision.

"I know it hit his arm below the fence," Abreu said.

Television replays were inconclusive.

"From what we saw from the dugout, the fan kind of leaned over," Manuel said.

While the Phillies sulked, the Nationals received the power outburst from Wilson they'd been looking for since acquiring him from Colorado on July 13. He has six homers in 28 games with the Nationals compared to 15 in 71 games for the Rockies.

"That's what we were hoping he could do when we got him," Robinson said. "Tonight he had one of those games and we needed it."

Said Wilson: "It feels good to contribute to a win."

After Myers retired his first two batters, Johnson hit his 12th homer. Jose Guillen singled and Wilson added his 20th homer into the center-field shrubs for a 3-0 lead. Both shots came on 3-1 counts.

Pat Burrell made it 3-2 in the first with a two-run single to left. Guillen's throw was on target to nail Chase Utley, but Hernandez inexplicably cut the ball off just a few feet from the plate, leaving Guillen and catcher Schneider crouched for several seconds in disbelief.

They had little reason to worry about the Phillies scoring again once Hernandez started rolling. Plus, Schneider added some insurance with a solo homer in the eighth.

"We can't get ahead of ourselves. It's just a couple of games," Schneider said.

Notes

  • Wilson has his third multihomer game this year.
  • An MRI showed Guillen has tendinitis in his right elbow. He was moved from right field to left.
  • Phillies 1B Jim Thome was scheduled to have season-ending surgery Tuesday on his right elbow.
  • Thanks to a 5-1 road trip and the $1 hot dogs, the Phillies had a walk-up crowd of more than 7,600 fans.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Preston Wilson hits his second two-run homer of the game -- this one coming in the third inning.  (AP)
Preston Wilson hits his second two-run homer of the game -- this one coming in the third inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

P. Burrell
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Washington

P. Wilson
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, RF5020031 .256
Jose Vidro, 2B5000002 .278
Nick Johnson, 1B4111011 .314
Jose Guillen, LF3220110 .303
Preston Wilson, CF4224001 .257
Brian Schneider, C3111100 .291
Vinny Castilla, 3B4010001 .241
Cristian Guzman, SS4000011 .188
Livan Hernandez, P3010000 .242
   a- Ryan Church, PH1000000 .294
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals366106267 
a-flied out for Hernandez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brad Wilkerson 2 (33, Fultz, Geary)
HR - Nick Johnson (12, Myers), Preston Wilson 2 (21, Myers, Myers), Brian Schneider (9, Geary)
RBI - Nick Johnson (55), Preston Wilson 4 (65), Brian Schneider (34)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Johnson (18), Preston Wilson 4 (30), Brian Schneider (13)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Castilla-Vidro-N. Johnson, Guzman-Vidro-N. Johnson
E - Cristian Guzman (14, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez (W,14-5) 8522230 3.45
Chad Cordero 1210000 1.03
HBP - T. Perez (by Livan Hernandez)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 113-73, Chad Cordero 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 11-8, Chad Cordero 2-2
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 30, Chad Cordero 6
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000001 .267
Kenny Lofton, CF3110100 .307
Chase Utley, 2B4110001 .300
Bobby Abreu, RF3020100 .294
Pat Burrell, LF4012012 .284
Ryan Howard, 1B4110022 .278
David Bell, 3B3000002 .249
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .250
   a- Endy Chavez, PH1000000 .228
Mike Lieberthal, C4011000 .243
Brett Myers, P2000000 .106
    Aaron Fultz, P0000000 .333
    Tomas Perez, 3B1000002 .248
Totals333732310 
a-grounded out for Geary in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Pat Burrell 2 (87), Mike Lieberthal (33)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Lieberthal (8)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Rollins-Utley-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
Brett Myers (L,10-6) 6655253 3.62
Aaron Fultz 1100010 2.44
Geoff Geary 2311001 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Myers 113-71, Aaron Fultz 15-10, Geoff Geary 20-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Myers 9-4, Aaron Fultz 1-1, Geoff Geary 3-2
Batters Faced - Brett Myers 26, Aaron Fultz 4, Geoff Geary 8
Game Information
Attendance - 40627
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Rob Drake