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Philadelphia at Washington

W: B. Traber (4-3) L: J. Lieber (9-11)
S: J. Rauch (2)
HR: PHI - None   WAS - R. Church (9)

Phillies drop game to Nationals after lengthy rain delay

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- The longest of nights produced the most painful of losses for the Philadelphia Phillies and dozens of their die-hard fans.

The Phillies waited out a rain delay of nearly 4½ hours at the start, then dropped a 3-1 decision to the Washington Nationals that left Philadelphia two games back in the NL wild-card race with only three games to play.

While the Phillies were losing at Washington for the second time in three games, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Colorado 19-11 Thursday for their fourth straight win.

"I've seen stranger things. ... Our heart's still beating, but it's getting there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

His club finishes with three games in Florida.

"Anything can happen. We've just got to keep going out and playing," said Pat Burrell, robbed of a homer by center fielder Nook Logan's leaping catch. "Florida's a good team, but we've got to dig down deep. It's that time."

Still, the Phillies must be downright exhausted. Their series finale at Washington ended at 2:07 a.m. And that well-past-midnight madness came a day after the teams played a 14-inning game that lasted 4 hours, 53 minutes, before the Phillies won 8-7.

"It's good to go out and ruin their season," said Ryan Church, who homered in the second inning off Jon Lieber (9-11), right at midnight. "Now they've got to get on a plane, take a two-hour flight, then strap it on against a good Florida team tomorrow."

Church paused, then corrected himself: "Today, actually."

In the Thursday-into-Friday game, Brian Schneider snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run single off reliever Aaron Fultz in the sixth after Lieber allowed three consecutive hits.

The Phillies created chances, putting the leadoff man on in both the seventh and eighth innings. But both times, the next batter hit into a double play.

Billy Traber (4-3) earned the win with one inning of scoreless relief, and Jon Rauch pitched a perfect ninth for his second career save.

It was necessary to get the game in, because the result was significant to the playoff chase.

"That's just the way it should be and the way it is," said Nationals manager Frank Robinson, who on Thursday met with general manager Jim Bowden and team president Stan Kasten about his future.

Here's how lengthy the delay was: A cleaning crew moved through the empty upper deck, picking up trash, more than a half-hour before the first pitch was thrown at 11:32 p.m. When the tarp was finally removed from the field, the hundreds of spectators remaining charged into the first few rows for a close look.

Robinson called playing in front of so few fans in a 45,000-seat stadium "kind of eerie."

Many stood for much of the game, and one group took off their shirts even with the temperature in the 50s. It was quite a gathering, from the spectator in the second row sporting a giant sombrero, to the gentleman standing right beside the Nationals dugout and donning a red-plumed Trojan helmet.

Because there were so few people there, fans really had a chance to be heard. Instead of the usual mishmash of crowd noise that all blurs together as tens of thousands of voices, sounding something like TV static, just about every single chant was discernible. And mostly from Phillies fans, who took advantage of the chance to give Nationals players an earful.

They were "calling you everything but your first name," Church said. "I just had to bite my lip."

"Let's go, Phillies!" was the most popular call from the considerable contingent of visitors, but there also were choruses of "Harry Kallas!" directed toward the announcer, and "M-V-P!" cries whenever Ryan Howard -- he of the 58 homers and 146 RBI, along with six strikeouts in this series -- stepped to the plate. They jeered mound visits and pickoff attempts by the Nationals. At one point, the Nationals' mascot, an eagle named Screech, wandered into a group of Phillies fans, who taunted him, "You're no Phanatic!" And this might have capped it: Boos were showered on the person wearing the oversized Thomas Jefferson suit who fell during the fourth-inning Presidents Race.

The Nationals fans had a chance to serenade rookie Ryan Zimmerman with "Happy Birthday": He turned 22 Thursday.

"It was kind of like playing in college again," said Zimmerman, just a year removed from the University of Virginia. "It was fun, actually."

The Phillies might not feel that way.


  • Nationals LF Alfonso Soriano was scratched from the lineup about 45 minutes before the start.
  • Church's ninth homer matched his career high.
  • Lieber allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
  • O'Connor went five innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits.
Copyright 2016 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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Not too many fans wait out more than four hours of rain before the game gets going. (AP)
Not too many fans wait out more than four hours of rain before the game gets going. (AP)

Players of the Game

B. Schneider
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

R. Church
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000000 .279
Shane Victorino, CF4010002 .281
Chase Utley, 2B4010011 .311
Ryan Howard, 1B3000120 .314
Jeff Conine, RF-LF4000002 .269
Pat Burrell, LF3010000 .253
    Chris Roberson, PR-RF0000000 .200
Chris Coste, C3000011 .326
Abraham Nunez, 3B2100100 .210
Jon Lieber, P2010010 .094
    Aaron Fultz, P0000000 .000
   a- Randall Simon, PH1010000 .263
    Joe Thurston, PR0000000 .250
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .182
    Matt Smith, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Fultz in the 8th
SB - Chase Utley (15, 2nd base off O'Connor/Schneider)
CS - Shane Victorino (2, 2nd base by O'Connor/Schneider)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Pat Burrell 1
E - Jimmy Rollins (11, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Jon Lieber (L,9-11) 5.1733021 4.93
Aaron Fultz 1.2100010 4.54
Ryan Madson 0.2200010 5.80
Matt Smith 0.1000010 0.92
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lieber 83-51, Aaron Fultz 20-14, Ryan Madson 13-8, Matt Smith 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lieber 4-10
Batters Faced - Jon Lieber 23, Aaron Fultz 6, Ryan Madson 4, Matt Smith 1
Washington Nationals
Bernie Castro, 2B4010002 .237
Nook Logan, CF4110010 .307
Felipe Lopez, SS4120010 .278
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4020001 .289
Jose Vidro, 1B4000004 .287
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
Brian Schneider, C4022000 .259
Ryan Church, RF4121014 .265
George Lombard, LF3000013 .188
Mike O'Connor, P1000010 .065
   a- Henry Mateo, PH1000000 .167
    Billy Traber, P0000000 .083
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
   b- Melvin Dorta, PH1000000 .200
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .333
    Robert Fick, 1B0000000 .256
a-hit into fielder's choice for O'Connor in the 5th
b-popped out for Rivera in the 7th
2B - Felipe Lopez (27, Lieber), Brian Schneider (18, Madson)
HR - Ryan Church (9, Lieber)
RBI - Brian Schneider 2 (55), Ryan Church (33)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Church (18)
SB - Felipe Lopez (43, 2nd base off Lieber/Coste)
Team LOB - 7
DP - F. Lopez-Castro-Vidro, Castro-Vidro
E - Ryan Zimmerman (15, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Mike O'Connor 5310230 4.80
Billy Traber (W,4-3) 1100020 6.86
Saul Rivera (H,9) 1000000 3.61
Ryan Wagner (H,3) 1100000 4.55
Jon Rauch (S,2) 1000000 3.32
Pitches-Strikes - Mike O'Connor 92-55, Billy Traber 24-14, Saul Rivera 5-4, Ryan Wagner 15-9, Jon Rauch 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike O'Connor 4-8, Billy Traber 1-0, Saul Rivera 2-0, Ryan Wagner 1-1, Jon Rauch 1-2
Batters Faced - Mike O'Connor 20, Billy Traber 4, Saul Rivera 2, Ryan Wagner 3, Jon Rauch 3
Game Information
Attendance - 18324
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 56
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Rob Drake