It was another first for Hunter Pence.

A few days after experiencing his first champagne bath, the Phillies right fielder received his first night off. Pence, who had played every inning of every game since joining the Phils on July 30, was out of manager Charlie Manuel’s lineup last night against the Nationals.

Pence was pulled in the sixth inning of yesterday’s day game, a 4-3 loss to Washington. He had a slight limp after beating out an infield single in the first.

“I feel good,” Pence said. “I like to play, but sometimes it’s smarter to not play 18 innings every time you get the chance in one day.”

 

And Pence wasn’t the only regular out of the lineup. Manuel also rested first baseman Ryan Howard, who got a cortisone shot Monday on his injured left ankle. The Big Piece has been out of the starting lineup since Saturday night, when the Phils clinched the NL East title.

“The goal is to be out there and be able to play, but the focus is towards October and being healthy for October,” Howard said.

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