Home runs from Ryan Howard and Cody Asche gave A.J. Burnett all the support he needed as the right-hander pitched the Phillies to a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night.
The victory put the Phillies back at .500 with a 14-14 record and snapped a two-game losing streak.
Starting pitching report
Burnett turned in his second straight stellar outing, allowing just a run on three hits and a pair of walks over six innings. Burnett struck out seven and has allowed just three runs in his last 27 2/3 innings -- a stretch of four games.
Burnett improved to 2-1 with the win and lowered his ERA to 2.06.
For the Nats, right-hander Tanner Roark gave up a three-run homer in the first and couldn’t stop the bleeding. The Phillies tagged Roark for a run in the second and fourth and got two more in the fifth to chase him.
In four-plus innings, Roark allowed seven runs on seven hits and a walk. Four of those seven hits went for extra bases.
Mario Hollands retired three of the four hitters he faced in the seventh, notching a strikeout while allowing a two-out solo homer.
Mike Adams struck out two batters in a perfect eighth inning before turning it over to Antonio Bastardo for the ninth.
Bastardo struck out the side in the ninth to finish it up.
At the plate
Howard got the Phillies started with a three-run homer with one out in the first inning. It was Howard’s sixth homer and 17th RBIs of the season, which puts him on pace to hit more than 35 homers and drive in more than 100 runs this season.
Asche hit a solo homer in the second and Carlos Ruiz hit a line-drive double following a double from Dom Brown to add on another run in the fourth.
Marlon Byrd added a bases-loaded single in the fifth to drive in two more runs, thanks to solid table-setting by leadoff man Tony Gwynn Jr. and two-hole hitter Jimmy Rollins. The pair combined for six hits (Rollins had four of them), three runs and a stolen base.
Washington got all its runs on homers. Adam LaRoche popped one out to left and Zach Walters hit a pinch homer in the seventh.
Burnett moved past Jim Palmer for 52nd place on the all-time strikeouts leader board. With 2,215 whiffs, Burnett trails Tommy John for 51st place by 30.
Burnett trails only CC Sabathia among active pitchers in career strikeouts.
Rain delay …
The game was halted for 24 minutes as a thunderstorm rumbled through. The only significance of the storm was it ended Burnett’s night after six innings and 93 pitches.
Roberto Hernandez (1-1, 5.74) will take the mound in place of Cole Hamels, who will miss his start because of the flu (see story). Hernandez last pitched on April 29, when he faced one batter in a relief appearance. He started in Arizona on April 25, when he allowed four runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in six innings for the loss.
Hernandez faced the Nationals twice while pitching for Cleveland. He’s 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA, which includes a complete-game three-hitter on June 12, 2010.
Former Phillies farmhand Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.25) will pitch for the Nationals. The lefty is 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies. The Nats are 6-2 in those games.