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Nats finish sweep of Phillies behind red-hot Fister

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Doug Fister did the splits while covering first base and reached backward to make a how-did-he-do-that stab of a grounder while on the mound, adding a bit of gymnastics to another pinpoint outing.

No one can accuse the 6-foot-8 righty of being either ungainly or inaccurate. He won his fourth consecutive start Thursday, another walk-free outing of seven innings with only two runs and four hits allowed as the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 to complete a three-game sweep.

Fister (4-1) struggled in the Nationals debut last month after missing all of April with a lat strain. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in a game since. In six starts, he has walked only two batters.

"I'd rather them earn it," he said, "than give it away."

And earning it is that much harder with a pitcher as flexible as Fister. The college first baseman did a full split while not quite hanging on to a throw to first that would have completed a double play in the first inning.

"Yeah, that's not comfortable," Washington manager Matt Williams said.

For the player or the manager?

"For both," Williams said.

Then there was the play in the third inning, when Fister flipped himself around to rob Ben Revere of a hit up the middle -- a play that proved more valuable when Jimmy Rollins followed immediately with a double.

"He's a cat out there on the mound," reliever Tyler Clippard said. "He's getting everything."

Sounds like he's the team's unofficial "pepper" champ.

"I try to do a lot of work with groundballs up the middle and try to work on reaction time," Fister said. "Being able to field my position is something I take a lot of pride in."

Fister's start is the latest in what's starting to look like the tough-act-to-follow rotation expected from the Nationals this season. Jordan Zimmermann threw eight scoreless innings in the series opener Tuesday, and Stephen Strasburg fanned 11 in a victory Wednesday.

Overall, the Nationals have won five of six. They have out-scored opponents 38-12 in those half-dozen games, including 19-6 in each of the three-game series against the Texas Rangers and the Phillies. Now comes a 10-game road trip to San Diego, San Francisco and St. Louis.

"We have a really hard road trip coming up against some really good teams," Williams said. "Without going too far, we're happy with where we're at it right now and the way it's gone. We have to continue to push."

It would be easier if they could keep playing the Phillies, who have lost six straight, are an NL-worst 9-20 since May 5. A team meeting on Tuesday yielded nothing productive, and Rollins can already envision a possible lost season in which key players are traded away.

"It's getting out of control now," Rollins said. "We've got a chance to go out there and change that tomorrow. If not, then that's a decision they're going to make either way. But we'd like to put a streak together going the other direction. Be up in that left column, and find a way to win some games."

Kyle Kendrick (1-6) allowed four runs over seven innings and walked a season-high five. He is 1-11 in his past 19 starts, has an 11-start winless streak on the road and hasn't won a day game since 2012, going 0-6 in his past nine starts in the sunshine.

But the problems are team-wide. The Phillies are batting .224 during their past 29 games.

"It's been time to straighten it out," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said.

Notes

With the matinee following a rain-delayed game the night before, Nationals SS Ian Desmond and Phillies OF Marlon Byrd were given a day off for the first time this season. Desmond had started every game up to Thursday, while Byrd had started all but one. ... Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer, and Rafael Soriano picked up his 12th save for the Nationals.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Doug Fister allows two runs and doesn't walk a batter in seven innings as he wins his fourth straight start. (USATSI)
Doug Fister allows two runs and doesn't walk a batter in seven innings as he wins his fourth straight start. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Washington

A. LaRoche
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

D. Fister
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 2
BB 0
K 5
 
Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ben Revere, CF4110010 .282
Jimmy Rollins, SS3010010 .248
Chase Utley, 2B3011011 .311
Ryan Howard, 1B4000022 .227
John Mayberry Jr., RF4111011 .255
Domonic Brown, LF3000000 .206
Wil Nieves, C3000000 .250
Reid Brignac, 3B3000020 .242
Kyle Kendrick, P2000010 .083
   a-Tony Gwynn Jr., PH1000000 .165
   Justin De Fratus, P0000000 .000
   Jake Diekman, P0000000 .000
Totals3024209  
a-grounded out for Kendrick in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ben Revere (2, Fister), Jimmy Rollins (8, Fister)
HR - John Mayberry Jr. (4, Fister)
SH - Jimmy Rollins (2)
RBI - Chase Utley (28), John Mayberry Jr. (12)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Utley-Rollins-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard-Rollins-Utley-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Kendrick (L,1-6) 7644521 4.30
Justin De Fratus 0.2200010 3.00
Jake Diekman 0.1000000 4.97
HBP - Rendon (by Kyle Kendrick)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Kendrick 103-64, Justin De Fratus 9-8, Jake Diekman 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Kendrick 10-7
Batters Faced - Kyle Kendrick 31, Justin De Fratus 4, Jake Diekman 1
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4110012 .283
Anthony Rendon, 2B3110001 .271
Jayson Werth, RF3111100 .285
Adam LaRoche, 1B3112102 .315
Ryan Zimmerman, LF3011112 .364
   Nate McLouth, LF0000000 .180
Kevin Frandsen, 3B4010005 .234
Danny Espinosa, SS3010101 .218
Jose Lobaton, C3010112 .232
Doug Fister, P1000000 .100
   Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   a-Greg Dobbs, PH0000000 .200
   b-Scott Hairston, PH1000002 .409
   Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals2848453  
a-announced for Clippard in the 8th
b-popped out for Dobbs in the 8th
Batting
2B - Denard Span (16, Kendrick)
HR - Adam LaRoche (8, Kendrick)
SH - Doug Fister 2 (4)
RBI - Jayson Werth (25), Adam LaRoche 2 (30), Ryan Zimmerman (8)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (5)
Team LOB - 8
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Doug Fister (W,4-1) 7422051 3.19
Tyler Clippard (H,12) 1000020 1.37
Rafael Soriano (S,12) 1000020 0.78
HBP - Utley (by Doug Fister)
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 93-63, Tyler Clippard 11-9, Rafael Soriano 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 11-5, Tyler Clippard 1-0, Rafael Soriano 1-0
Batters Faced - Doug Fister 26, Tyler Clippard 3, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 33016
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - John Tumpane, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Ed Hickox