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Philadelphia at Washington

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Philadelphia (63-55) «000000030340
Washington (54-65)000000200262

Branyan's pinch-hit blast in eighth helps Phils drop Nats

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- It hasn't been Russell Branyan's year. But Tuesday night was definitely his night.

In his first at-bat with the Phillies, Branyan drilled a Jon Rauch fastball into the mezzanine for a pinch-hit, two-run homer that gave Philadelphia a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

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.

Notes

  • Nationals 1B Dmitri Young returned to the starting lineup after missing four games because of tightness in his left hamstring. He was hitless in three at-bats.
  • Nationals 2B Ronnie Belliard is 1-for-21 in his last six games.
  • Washington signed the 31st pick in June's draft, LHP Josh Smoker.
  • Manuel is unsure about whether RHP Adam Eaton will make Friday's scheduled start. In his last four starts, he's allowed 16 runs in 12 2/3 innings.
  • In the seventh, Brian Schneider popped up a bunt in foul ground that catcher Ruiz caught before colliding with third baseman Greg Dobbs. Ruiz was motionless on the ground for a few moments before getting up. He stayed in the game and Manuel said he was fine.
 
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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Run, Jimmy, run! The Phillies shortstop is unable to avoid the tag by the Nats' Ryan Zimmerman.  (AP)
Run, Jimmy, run! The Phillies shortstop is unable to avoid the tag by the Nats' Ryan Zimmerman. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

R. Branyan
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

T. Batista
AB 1
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4010010 .290
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4000001 .262
Pat Burrell, LF4000021 .263
    Chris Roberson, RF0000000 .286
Ryan Howard, 1B4000021 .264
Aaron Rowand, CF4010020 .311
Greg Dobbs, 3B3000011 .284
    Abraham Nunez, 3B1000010 .250
Jayson Werth, RF-LF2100110 .248
Carlos Ruiz, C3111001 .255
Kyle Lohse, P2000020 .162
    Antonio Alfonseca, P0000000 .000
   a- Russell Branyan, PH1112000 .203
    Tom Gordon, P0000000 .000
    Brett Myers, P0000000 .000
Totals32343112  
a-homered for Alfonseca in the 8th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Iguchi-Rollins-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Lohse 6.2522340 4.57
Antonio Alfonseca (W,4-1) 0.1000000 3.83
Tom Gordon (H,5) 1100010 3.86
Brett Myers (S,10) 1000030 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
Washington Nationals
Felipe Lopez, SS3010101 .251
Ronnie Belliard, 2B3000002 .283
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3000110 .264
Dmitri Young, 1B3000020 .331
    Robert Fick, 1B1010000 .206
Austin Kearns, RF4000003 .249
Ryan Church, LF3120000 .265
    Ryan Langerhans, LF1000010 .154
Brian Schneider, C3000122 .229
Nook Logan, CF4110010 .274
Shawn Hill, P2000011 .133
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Batista, PH1012000 .275
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
Totals3126238  
a-doubled for Ayala in the 7th
Batting
2B - Tony Batista (2, Lohse)
SH - Ronnie Belliard (3)
RBI - Tony Batista 2 (13)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Felipe Lopez (12, Throwing), Ryan Zimmerman (18, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Shawn Hill 6100170 2.41
Luis Ayala 1000030 2.86
Jon Rauch (BS,5; L,8-3) 1332001 3.86
Ray King 0.1000000 5.02
Saul Rivera 0.2000020 3.69
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
Game Information
Attendance - 27128
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Chris Guccione