Washington Nationals starter Ross Detwiler gave up five runs in five innings and the Washington offense could not catch up against Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies as the Phillies took the first of a three-game series Tuesday night, 6-3.
The Nationals got out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Kurt Suzuki's single scored Danny Espinosa, but Phillies left fielder Darin Ruf's first career home run knotted the score quickly in the bottom of the inning.
The Phillies piled on four runs in the third inning, as Ryan Howard hit an RBI single and Carlos Ruiz's homer scored Howard and Chase Utley to make the score 5-1.
Washington rallied in the fifth for two runs, as Bryce Harper's single scored Suzuki and Harper then scored on a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single of his own.
But the rally stopped there, as Domonic Brown's solo shot in the sixth inning put the game out of reach.
Washington's loss, coupled with Atlanta's 4-3 win over Miami, reduced the Nats' lead in the National League East to four games with eight still to play. The gap between Washington and Atlanta has not been so narrow since Aug. 28.
The Phillies and Nationals will play the second game in their three-game set tomorrow, as Washington sends John Lannan to the mound to take on the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick at 7 p.m.