|Philadelphia (63-55) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||3||4||0|
WASHINGTON -- It hasn't been Russell Branyan's year. But Tuesday night was definitely his night.
It was a nice turnaround for a guy who was released by one team and traded by another. His season had an inauspicious start when, in spring training, his truck was stolen and his refrigerator stopped working.
"It's been a long year," Branyan said.
With the win, the Phillies kept the heat on the New York Mets in the NL East. The Phillies remained three games behind the Mets, who beat Pittsburgh 5-4.
Trailing 2-0 entering the eighth, Jayson Werth hit a one-out grounder to third which Ryan Zimmerman threw away for a two-base error. Carlos Ruiz followed with a single off Rauch (8-3) to score Werth. Branyan lined a 1-0 pitch into the mezzanine in right field for his eighth home run of the year.
Branyan started the season with San Diego, batted .197 in 61 games before being released on July 28. He signed with Cleveland as a free agent on Aug. 7 and played one game with their top minor league affiliate in Buffalo the next day -- striking out three times -- before the Phillies acquired him on Aug. 9.
"The most rewarding three strikeouts have been to me all year," Branyan said.
Now, he's reunited with Charlie Manuel, who was his first hitting coach with Cleveland in 1998. Nine years and six teams later, he's delighted to be back with Manuel and in a pennant race.
"I've still got a big league uniform on my back, and we're in contention for the National League East. I'm on a good ballclub," Branyan said.
Manuel said he didn't care that Branyan had but one previous pinch-hit homer in his career.
"I don't care if he doesn't have any. The way he swings, he's dangerous," Manuel said.
Said Rauch: "It was a very bad mistake. A hitter like that who has been around a while and knows the game, obviously he's going to capitalize on a mistake pitch."
Branyan was batting for Antonio Alfonseca (4-1), who got the win after he retired the only batter he faced in the seventh. Tom Gordon allowed one hit in the eighth. Brett Myers struck out the side in the ninth for his 10th save.
Through seven innings, the Phillies had been held to just one hit, a leadoff single by Aaron Rowand in the fifth off Washington starter Shawn Hill. In his first start since missing more than three months because of a sprained right elbow, Hill pitched six innings, threw 80 pitches and struck out a career-high seven. He walked one.
"It took me a couple of innings to kind of settle down, to get to where I was sharp," Hill said. "It turned out well. It turned out better than I would have expected, to be honest."
Hill had a streak of 10 hitless innings, thanks to the five no-hit innings he threw against Florida on May 11 before leaving with his elbow injury, four more Tuesday to begin the game, and the final inning of his May 6 start.
"God, it would be nice to have this guy 35 times a year going out there and giving you the effort he gives you every five days," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the seventh on a two-run, pinch-hit double by Tony Batista. Ryan Church led off with a a single off Philadelphia starter Kyle Lohse. One out later, Logan lined a soft single off second baseman Tadahito Iguchi's glove. Batista followed with his two-run double.
Lohse, in his third start since being acquired from Cincinnati on July 30, was nearly as good as Hill. In his first six innings, he allowed just two hits, singles in the second to Church, and in the sixth to Felipe Lopez.
|Run, Jimmy, run! The Phillies shortstop is unable to avoid the tag by the Nats' Ryan Zimmerman. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.290|
|Tadahito Iguchi, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.262|
|Pat Burrell, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.263|
|Chris Roberson, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.264|
|Aaron Rowand, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.311|
|Greg Dobbs, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.284|
|Abraham Nunez, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Jayson Werth, RF-LF||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.248|
|Carlos Ruiz, C||3||1||1||1||0||0||1||.255|
|Kyle Lohse, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.162|
|Antonio Alfonseca, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Russell Branyan, PH||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||.203|
|Tom Gordon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brett Myers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-homered for Alfonseca in the 8th|
|HR - Russell Branyan (8, Rauch)|
|RBI - Carlos Ruiz (40), Russell Branyan 2 (21)|
|SB - Jimmy Rollins (23, 2nd base off Rauch/Schneider), Tadahito Iguchi (11, 2nd base off Hill/Schneider)|
|CS - Aaron Rowand (2, 2nd base by Hill/Schneider)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Iguchi-Rollins-Howard|
|Antonio Alfonseca (W,4-1)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.83|
|Tom Gordon (H,5)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.86|
|Brett Myers (S,10)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||5.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 118-74, Antonio Alfonseca 5-4, Tom Gordon 10-6, Brett Myers 19-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 8-8, Tom Gordon 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 28, Antonio Alfonseca 1, Tom Gordon 3, Brett Myers 3|
|Felipe Lopez, SS||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.251|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.283|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.264|
|Dmitri Young, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.331|
|Robert Fick, 1B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.206|
|Austin Kearns, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.249|
|Ryan Church, LF||3||1||2||0||0||0||0||.265|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.154|
|Brian Schneider, C||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.229|
|Nook Logan, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.274|
|Shawn Hill, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.133|
|Luis Ayala, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Tony Batista, PH||1||0||1||2||0||0||0||.275|
|Jon Rauch, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ray King, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Saul Rivera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-doubled for Ayala in the 7th|
|2B - Tony Batista (2, Lohse)|
|SH - Ronnie Belliard (3)|
|RBI - Tony Batista 2 (13)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Felipe Lopez (12, Throwing), Ryan Zimmerman (18, Throwing)|
|Jon Rauch (BS,5; L,8-3)||1||3||3||2||0||0||1||3.86|
|Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Hill 79-52, Luis Ayala 16-10, Jon Rauch 23-15, Ray King 3-2, Saul Rivera 11-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Hill 7-4, Jon Rauch 2-2, Ray King 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Shawn Hill 20, Luis Ayala 3, Jon Rauch 7, Ray King 1, Saul Rivera 2|
|Attendance - 27128|
|Game Time - 2:46|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Chris Guccione|