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The Philadelphia Phillies completed a three-game game sweep of the Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon, stifling the Nats' bats for a 4-1 win that's sure to leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths. Cliff Lee got the win with seven strong innings while Jordan Zimmermann was done in by a bad inning, giving up a two-run homer to Jimmy Rollins in the fifth, his final inning of work.
The Nats' division lead over the Atlanta Braves is now five games, with the Braves in action during the Sunday night game against the San Francisco Giants. Their record falls to 77-50 as they find themselves in a strange position of late; a losing streak. The loss was their fourth in a row after winning 16 of their previous 20.
Zimmerman will need to continue the success he's had in 2012, especially if his team plans to shut down Stephen Strasburg before the end of the season.
The Phillies will be without Domonic Brown yet again, as he's missing his second straight game with knee issues. Here is the lineups for both teams. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.
The Washington Nationals have not been swept by the Philadelphia Phillies since the earlier part of last season, which is something they hope to avoid today in Philly's Citizens Bank Park at 1:35 p.m. Eastern.
Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, .254 ERA) will take the mound today for Washington. He will be facing a struggling Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.78 ERA) and a Philadelphia team 17.5 games back from the NL East lead and 9.5 games back from the NL Wild Card.
The Nationals hope to rebound from last night's performance, in which Gio Gonzalez failed to become the major-league leader in wins, giving up five hits and three earned runs over six innings of work. Roy Halladay earned the win for Philadelphia.
Left fielder Michael Morse and shortstop Ian Desmond remain "day to day" for the Nationals due to injury. Morse was hit in the hand by a wild Kyle Kendrick pitch on Friday night, and Desmond has missed the entire series thus far with a sore right hamstring.
Today's game will be broadcast on PHL 17 in Philadelphia and MASN HD in the DC area.
Gio Gonzalez was bidding for what would have been his league-leading 17th win on the year, but that victory will have to come on another night. Gonzalez was average in allowing three runs in six innings on five hits and two walks. The southpaw did strikeout seven.
His counterpart Roy Halladay was superb for Charlie Manuel's club, going seven strong frames and only surrendering two runs. The ex-Toronto Blue Jay scattered seven hits and punched out six.
John Mayberry Jr. had the only extra-base knock for either side, a solo home run off Gonzalez that proved to be the game-winner.
With the loss, Washington has dropped three straight games for the first time since July 19-21.
Gonzalez has been spectacular in his first year as a National, posting a 3.23 ERA and 161 strikeouts. He will go for a league-leading 17th win tonight.
But challenging Gonzalez and the Nationals will be two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. "Doc" has had his worst season in years, but things have looked slightly better of late, as he's won three of his last four starts.
The Nationals haven't had a Cy Young or 17-game winner since Pedro Martinez did both for the Montreal Expos in 1997.
Meanwhile, the Nationals' lead in the National League East has shrunk a bit of late. They currently lead the Atlanta Braves by 6.5 games.
Saturday's game starts at 7:05 ET, and can be found on MASN.
Outfielder Michael Morse left the game in the top of the first inning after he was hit in the right hand by a Kyle Kendrick fastball. Morse was replaced in left field and in the cleanup spot in the lineup by Roger Bernadina, who went 1-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.
X rays negative on Morse's hand. Probably miss a few days.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 25, 2012
The Nationals were also without Ian Desmond, who was a last-minute scratch from the Washington lineup with what manager Davey Johnson called a "mild hamstring strain." According to CSN Washington Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman, the plan is for Desmond to sit out the rest of the weekend series in Philadelphia, which would likely mean Danny Espinosa filling in at shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi getting time at second base.
For the Nats, things could be even worse as outfielder Michael Morse suffered an injury when he was hit by a pitch. He exited the game and his status for the remainder of the series isn't currently known.
Starting pitcher Edwin Jackson pitched fairly well for the Nationals, giving up three runs in six innings of work. Tyler Moore entered as a pinch hitter and hit and two-run homer for Jackson in the seventh, but it wasn't enough. Philadelphia was supported by a strong start from Kyle Kendrick, who gave up only two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He was then picked up by a large bullpen effort as six relievers came in to pitch scoreless ball the rest of the way.
Nationals outfielder Michael Morse left Friday's game in the first inning with a hand injury.
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson has scratched Ian Desmond from the lineup for Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Desmond has a right knee injury (hyper-extension), but will still be available for the Nationals to use as a pinch hitter. Desmond, who said he hyper-extended the knee on Wednesday, was originally scheduled to play shortstop and bat sixth in the Nationals lineup on Friday.
Without Desmond in the lineup, Johnson has moved Danny Espinosa to shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi has been put in at second base and will bat leadoff. Jayson Werth has slid down from leadoff and will bat sixth. Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche have switched places in the lineup as well.
Here's the new lineup the for the Nationals on Friday night:
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced that pinch hitter Chad Tracy has had his contract extended for the 2013 MLB season.
The Washington Nationals open up a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. Kyle Kendrick takes the mound for Philadelphia with a 6-9 record and 4.20 ERA. Edwin Jackson gets the start for Washington. He is 7-8 on the year with a 3.69 ERA.
The Phillies have struggled this year and find themselves 19.5 games back of the first-place Nationals heading into tonight. However, Philadelphia was the most recent team to win a series over the Nats, taking two of three at Nationals Park at the beginning of the month.
The Nationals are in a comfortable position headed into the season's stretch run, currently sitting 6.5 games over the second-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Washington's road trip will kick off in Philly, who will throw Kyle Kendrick after a pair of dominating starts.