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Big 7th-inning rally sends Phillies past Nationals

PHILADELPHIA -- Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez's two-run single highlighted a four-run seventh inning as the Phillies rallied for a 4-1 win over the Nationals on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez had pitched six scoreless innings against the Phillies before he walked Grady Sizemore and Cameron Rupp and hit Andres Blanco with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Hernandez then followed with a go-ahead hit against Xavier Cedeno.

Freddy Galvis, who finished with three hits, added an RBI single and Chase Utley had a sacrifice fly in that seventh inning.

Phillies right-hander Jerome Williams pitched well enough to win, but earned a no-decision. He allowed five hits, one run, one walk, one home run and struck out six in six innings.

Jonathan Papelbon picked up the save for the 108th of his Phillies career. He needs five more saves to pass Jose Mesa to set the franchise record.

Who started that rally?: The Phillies scored four runs in the seventh inning with the help of some unlikely candidates. Sizemore walked, Rupp walked and Blanco was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hernandez's two-run single to right scored a pair of runs. Everybody other than Sizemore entered Spring Training without a guaranteed spot on the Opening Day roster, although Sizemore struggled throughout most of the spring. More >

Video: WSH@PHI: Galvis extends lead with single in the 7th

Leading things off: Michael Taylor led off the game and smacked his first home run of the season on a 3-2 pitch off Williams to give Washington a 1-0 lead.

Williams finishes strong: After Williams allowed the leadoff home run, he did not allow a run the rest of the way. Williams, who struggled mightily at the end of Spring Training, allowed five hits, one run, one walk, one home run and struck out six in six innings. More >

Video: WSH@PHI: Williams holds Nats to one run over six

Problems getting those runners in: The Nationals continue to have problems with runners in scoring position. After four games, they are 3-for 22 in that category. On Friday, after the Nationals had runners on first and third in the first inning with two outs, Ian Desmond flied out to left fielder Grady Sizemore to end the threat.

In the fifth inning, Ryan Zimmerman was on third base with two outs, but Dan Uggla struck out to end the threat.

Three innings later, after Yunel Escobar hit a two-out double, Bryce Harper struck out looking to end the inning. More >

Video: WSH@PHI: Williams strikes out Harper to end the 3rd

Gio falters in the seventh: Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez held the Phillies scoreless for six innings.Then he lost it in the seventh.After getting Jeff Francoeur to fly out, Gonzalez walked the next two hitters and then hit Andres Blanco with a pitch to load the bases before leaving the game. The bullpen then allowed four runs to score. Gonzalez was charged with three of the runs. More >

Video: WSH@PHI: Gio strikes out Utley to end the 3rd

Giles improves: Setup man Ken Giles pitched a scoreless eighth inning after struggling mightily Wednesday against the Red Sox. The Phillies hope their hard-throwing right-hander is moving in the right direction. More >

Video: PHI@ARI: Giles strikes out Harper to end the 8th


"I was trying to be too perfect. I walked people, hit a guy. Just when you think on a fast pace, they slow you down and that's what happen. I was nitpicking the corners. they kept fouling off pitches. They worked the count pretty well. I did a good job, but at the end of the day, they battled and they did a great job." -- Gonzalez on his struggles in the seventh inning


The Phillies announced a crowd of 19,047, which was the smallest crowd in the history of Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies drew a previous low of 19,182 on April 26, 2006, against the Rockies. It is the smallest crowd in Philadelphia since Sept. 3, 2003, when the Phillies drew 18,0002 against the Expos at Veterans Stadium.


Phillies broadcaster Matt Stairs modeled a replica of a 1915 National League champion Phillies sweater during Thursday night's broadcast. Mitchell & Ness, who used to make the sweaters, has suddenly seen an increase in demand and said they might start making them again. More >

Right-hander Doug Fister is now the fifth starter for the Nationals after winning 16 games last year, and will face the Phillies for the fifth time in his career. He is 2-2 with a 2.60 ERA against them.

Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels hopes to bounce back from a rough opener Monday against the Red Sox. He allowed four home runs in five innings in the 8-0 loss, but he has had much better luck against the Nationals. He is 15-8 with a 2.63 ERA in 32 career starts against Washington.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter.
Read More: Cesar Hernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Jerome Williams