Whacky 3rd dooms Lannan, Nats

Phils slugger Ryan Howard is locked in as he crushed a two-run opposite field homer off John Lannan in the 1st. He had four RBIs in the game, increasing his MLB leading total to 95. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

The last time John Lannan faced the Phillies, he finally snapped a 13-game winless spell against Philadelphia with his first winning decision on June 1.

But things were back to normal tonight as Lanna, 1-10 in his career against the Phils, struggled again. Lannan’s night was highlighted by a miserable 3rd inning as the Phils beat Washington, 11-3.

The 3rd started off with Shane Victorino reaching on a throwing error by short stop Ian Desmond. After a Chase Utley single, Ryan Howard drove in Victorino to make it a 3-2 game. Hunter Pence was walked and the bases remained loaded for Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez hit a hard shot to first baseman Michael Morse, who snagged the ball with his backhand and flipping to Lannan for the only possible out at first. Utley scored on the play and the Phils went up 4-2. Lannan intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz to load the bases for Wilson Valdez.

This is where the inning got a little interesting.

Valdez hit a chopper down the third base line that Lannan field. As Lannan was stumbling, he made a fantastic flip with his glove to catcher Wilson Ramos to get Howard out at the plate. But Lannan walked the following batter, Roy Oswalt of all people, with the bases loaded to bring home Pence and make it a 5-2 game.

But the scoring wasn’t over. Jimmy Rollins, the inning’s ninth batter, hit a ground ball into the hole at short. Desmond made the stop and flipped to second but a hustling Oswalt beat the throw to score Ruiz. Valdez was running all the way with there being two outs on the board and beat second baseman Danny Espinosa’s throw home to make it 7-2.

To make Lannan’s three-inning outing even stranger was that only one of the seven runs Lannan allowed was earned. The Nationals wound up making three errors behind the left-hander as he fell to 8-8 on the season and 1-11 in 15 career starts against the Phils.

Howard had a monster game for the Phillies, going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Howard’s home run came in the 1st inning, a two-run shot off Lannan that barely made it over the left field wall. Howard’s four RBIs put him back at the top of the majors with 95. In his last 22 games, Howard has eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

Ibanez went hitless in four at-bats but managed to drive in two runs. Victorino also had a two-hit game.

Oswalt’s night was easy as the offense – well the Nationals defense – supplied Oswalt with a cushion. He pitched seven strong innings, allowing only three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five. It was Oswalt’s first win since June 12.

HR: Howard (26).

WP: Oswalt (5-7). LP: Lannan (8-8).


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