Coming into this series, the Phillies had a lot to think about. The early struggles of the starting rotation, the slow start of Jimmy Rollins, the absence of starting catcher Carlos Ruiz were all foremost in the minds of the Phillies and their fans. But not anymore.
The Phillies lost a legend today in Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, who collapsed in the broadcast booth just hours before he was scheduled to call today's Phillies-Nationals game. Kalas was a Phillies icon just as much, perhaps even more so, than the greats who made their difference on the field. He was present for all of Michael Jack Schmidt's home runs and all of Steve Carlton's Phillies starts. I could go on about Kalas (and you can read more here), but there's little I can say that hasn't already been expressed many times over.
Needless to say, the Phillies entered this game with heavy hearts and, while it wasn't easy, they left with a win over the hapless Washington Nationals (0-7).
Jamie Moyer took the hill against Daniel Cabrera. Both fared poorly in their first starts of the season. Moyer got off to a slow start again in this one, allowing Elijah Dukes to double in Christian Guzman to give Washington an early 1-0 lead. However, Moyer was able to regain his composure and get out of a bases loaded jam.
Cabrera, on the other hand, looked dominant early, setting the Phillies down in order in the 1st inning, then striking out Ryan Howard to start the 2nd. However, he'd soon run into some hard luck. First, Jayson Werth reached on an infield single to short, then Raul Ibanez chopped a grounder to second baseman Anderson Hernandez. It looked like a potential double play ball, but Hernandez bobbled it and both runners were safe.
This seemed to rattle Cabrera, as his control (which is always a major question mark) escaped him. He walked Pedro Feliz to load the bases, then walked Chris Coste to tie the game. Moyer then followed with a sac fly, as Ibanez barely scored ahead of the tag and the Phillies took a 2-1 lead.
However, the game would not be won so easily. The Nationals tied it up in the bottom of the 2nd, then, after the Phillies had taken a two-run lead, the Nats tied it again at 4-4 on a Dukes homer in the 5th.
Despite not having a particularly strong outing, Moyer did pitch six innings and was put in position for the win in the 7th inning, when Howard followed a pair of hit batsmen with a three-run shot to center. Shortly thereafter, Ibanez homered to left and the Phillies held an 8-4 lead. The Nationals fought back in the bottom of the 7th, as Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer off Clay Condrey, but the Phillies tacked on an insurance run in the 8th with a Shane Victorino sac fly.
With a 9-6 lead and Brad Lidge entering the game, it seemed to be over, but on a day like today, nothing would come easy. Guzman led off the inning with a single, making him 5 for 5 on the day, and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a home run to center, making it a one-run game. However, after that Lidge regained his form, striking out Dunn and Dukes, then inducing a Nick Johnson groundout to end the game.
It was a tough day to be a Phillie or a Phillies fan, but at least the team came away with the win. It certainly won't make up for the loss of the franchise's voice but it's about all you could ask for after what transpired.