Abdication: Phillies 5, Nationals 3

So on a night when the Phillies logged five solo home runs, including two from an apparently resurgent Raul Ibanez, and Pedro Martinez logged his fourth victory in six starts with the Phillies, the real story tonight happened in the bottom of the ninth inning, when the inevitable happened -- Brad Lidge got fired.

Okay, maybe not "fired," but it's clear now that Charlie Manuel has a breaking point, and Brad Lidge pushed him to it tonight.  Heading into the ninth with a 5-3 lead, Lidge allowed a leadoff single to Wil Nieves, then got pinch hitter Alberto Gonzalez to ground out to deep third, on a ball third baseman Pedro Feliz nearly threw away.  With Nieves on second, Lidge then plunked Willie Harris in the middle of the back, then uncorked a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with one out.  After walking Cristian Guzman, Charlie had had enough. 

With Ryan Zimmerman coming up, and Adam Dunn on deck, Manuel took the walk to the mound and pulled his perfect season closer, replacing him with Ryan Madson, who promptly got Zimmerman to strike out on a changeup in the dirt, and Dunn to roll a grounder to Rollins playing the right side on a shift for the final out.

Brett Myers got four outs in the seventh and eighth, looking sharp in the process.  He'll almost certainly be unavailable tomorrow however.

The victory was the Phillies' first since last Thursday.  The series continues tomorrow, as lefty Cliff Lee tries to rebound from two consecutive poor starts.

Breath, everyone.

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