Papelbon blows save, Phillies lose in extra innings

When you don’t get a single hit between the second and ninth innings, the odds are that you will lose.  The Phillies almost accomplished a rare feat Wednesday night by nearly beating the Nationals despite a ridiculous offensive drought.

Jonathan Papelbon was an out away from salting away a victory against the Nationals , which would have given the Phillies a series sweep. However, Papelbon blew his second save opportunity in the series and of the season, and the Nationals went on to win the game, 6-2, in 11 innings.

The Phillies only mustered two hits during the first nine frames. Ben Revere led off the game with a single and Michael Young followed with a two-run homer, and that was it for the Phillies’ offense until Carlos Ruiz singled in the 10th.

After giving up the two-run shot, the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez was sensational. The two-time All-Star struck out Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown three times each.

Kyle Kendrick bounced back from his worst start of the season with a gem. Kendrick allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings. He deserved a better fate.

But it’s been  the story of the season. The Phillies’ starting pitching has often been very good and the bats have been MIA for much of the season.

The bullpen was a disaster against the Nats. Papelbon blew his save and Michael Stutes gave up a grand slam to Ian Desmond in the 11th.  The pitch prior to Desmond’s salami appeared to be a strike, which would have taken care of the Nats’ shortstop. Charlie Manuel was yelling at home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after he called a ball.

“It looked like a strike,” Manuel said.

But the Phillies wouldn’t have been in that situation if Papelbon notched the save.

“It’s important for me to finish it off for the starters,” Papelbon said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow. I got to make the pitch to (Jayson) Werth.”

The Phillies fans’ favorite target singled in the tying run with two outs in the ninth. Werth was clutch a day after saying that the Nationals had to do whatever it took to avoid being swept.

Michael Young passed the 1,000 RBI plateau. He’s just the 242nd player in MLB history to reach that level.


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