With the magic number still at one, the Washington Nationals are looking to clinch the NL East on Monday night with a series-opening win over the Phillies. They currently trail Philadelphia, 2-0, in the middle of the fifth inning. Philly starter Kyle Kendrick, who has been one of Charlie Manuel's most consistent starters since August, has cruised through the first four innings.
Kendrick gave up just two hits the first time through the order, with Michael Morse and Ian Desmond hitting back-to-back singles in the bottom of the second. But Danny Espinosa ground out to first, and Kendrick walked Kurt Suzuki to get to the pitcher, John Lannan. With the bases loaded, the Nationals starter grounded out to the left side to end the threat.
In the top half of that inning, the Phillies put together a quick two-run rally to break through against Lannan. It started with a leadoff walk to Carlos Ruiz, who was moved to second on a Domonic Brown single back up the middle. Rookie Darin Ruf then came through, ripping a triple to deep left. Ruf tore the cover off the ball this year at Triple-A Reading, and he's been one of the reasons to watch the Phils as they play out the string these last two weeks. The two-run triple is the only damage so far.