Brad Lidge made sure 16 hits would not be wasted when he mowed down the Nats in a 1-2-3 ninth.
If there was ever a case of a team playing down to its competition, it's the Phillies against the Nationals. Although they improved to 8-2 against the division's junior varsity, they made it harder than it needed to be once again, stranding 13 base-runners, among other lapses. With the Phils up 5-1 in the sixth, the Nationals were invited back into it when Chad Durbin, on in relief of eventual game winner J.A. Happ, allowed two inherited runners to score, plus an unearned run on a Jayson Werth bobble in right.
All of it was wiped away in the ninth when Lidge preserved the win in a vintage inning of work, using a hard slider and mid-90s cheddar to strike out the final two batters. Happ's final line read three runs, 5 1-3, which didn't do justice to a rather nice night for the young lefty, who improved to 3-0.
Offensively, the Phils capitalized on a string of deep flies that arrived just out of reach of the Nationals' outfielders. Shane Victorino had four hits, while Pedro Feliz raised his average to .312 on a two-for-four night, including an RBI triple. Credit also goes to Carlos Ruiz, who had another great night with the stick and called an excellent game.
Programming note: I'll be a guest of Brian Startare Saturday morning at 8:40 a.m. on 610-WIP.