WASHINGTON -- Nearly three months ago, Jayson Werth broke his left wrist trying to make a catch in a game the Washington Nationals lost. It was a memorable game. Cole Hamels hit rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch and Harper stole home.
At the time, the Nationals were 18-10 and led the NL East by a half-game. Without Werth, Washington went 43-32 and increased its lead by two games.
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Werth was eager to return, but proud of how the team did in his absence.
"It wasn't hard to watch. It was way easier to watch than if they weren't winning," he said.
Detwiler (6-4) won for the second time in his past 11 starts. He gave up three singles and retired his final 14 batters, finishing with three strikeouts and two walks.
Howard is in a 2-for-20 slump.
Detwiler enjoyed having Werth back
"He's a leader for us -- especially against his old team. He always seems to do just a little more against them," Detwiler said. "You know what he does with the bat -- that's why he gets paid."
Hamels (11-6) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. The All-Star lefty has one victory in his past seven starts and has lost both outings since signing a $144 million, six-year contract last month.
Hamels won his previous two starts against Washington this season, giving up one earned run in 16 innings.
"Nice to beat that guy. He's tough," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
Werth spent 11 games on a minor-league rehab assignment and got to appreciate the Nationals' system even more.
"This team's got a lot of depth. Playing the games in the minor leagues, you can see what kind of talent we have down there," he said. "We're pretty stacked. I like our chances for years to come."
LaRoche had a second-inning home run, his 20th, to go with a run-scoring single in the third and a single in the sixth. He was thrown out by Phillies right fielder John Mayberry Jr. when he tried to score on Steve Lombardozzi's fly ball.
Werth batted sixth -- one spot behind LaRoche.
"Regardless of what's going on statistically, he's stealing bases and doing things in the outfield," LaRoche said.
"It's huge to have him back, having him back in the lineup, back in the outfield, back in here. We've been waiting a couple of months for this."
Philadelphia's best chance to score came in the second, but Mayberry was cut down at the plate by Harper when he tried to score on Michael Martinez's single to right.
"I think people will still come to see us play. I hope they do, because I think we're definitely going to keep trying to improve our team, and keep trying to improve what we've got," manager Charlie Manuel said.
LaRoche has hit in 10 consecutive games and is batting .432 during the stretch.
Werth singled after LaRoche's home run. He drove in a run in the third on an infield out.
"It's like I never missed a step," Werth said.
- Washington RHP Jordan Zimmermann was named NL pitcher of the month for July. He joins RHP Stephen Strasburg (April) and LHP Gio Gonzalez (May) to give the Nationals the most teammates to win the monthly award since the Houston Astros had four in 1979.
- Washington placed RHP Henry Rodriguez on the disabled list with a lower-back strain.
- Nationals LF Michael Morse has an 11-game hitting streak.
- The Phillies will open a three-game series against Arizona on Friday. RHP Joe Blanton (8-9, 4.59 ERA) faces RHP Ian Kennedy (9-8, 4.20).
- Washington and Miami will play a doubleheader on Friday. LHP John Lannan (1-0, 2.57) and Gonzalez (13-5, 3.27) will pitch for the Nationals against LHP Brad Hand (no record) and RHP Josh Johnson (6-7, 4.04). Lannan and Hand are being recalled from the minors to start the first game.