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Howl, an Epic: Phillies 8, Nationals 5; Phillies 7, Nationals 5 (5)


Maybe there was nothing wrong with the Phillies that a trip out of town and the sight of the Washington Nationals pitching corps couldn't cure. Led by a trio of Raul Ibanez home runs, the Phils swept a day-night doubleheader in the District of Columbia, winning the afternoon contest 8-5 and the nightcap, a rain-shortened five-inning affair, 7-5. 

After a 12-inning bullpen-wrecker of a win Friday night, the Phillies sent Brett Myers to the mound hoping that their opening day starter could deliver both quality and quantity against a solid Nationals lineup. Despite allowing two more home runs to raise his season total to 12, Myers more than met the challenge, striking out eight in seven innings of three-hit ball. Meanwhile, Raul Ibanez continued his recent tear, hitting his first two home runs of the day in each of his first two at-bats of the opener to give the club an early 5-1 lead and bringing a heavily pro-Phillies crowd to life. Jayson Werth, who entered the game 7 for 16 lifetime against Washington starter Scott Olsen, added three hits in as many at-bats to that total, including his seventh home run of the season. And Jimmy Rollins continued his gradual climb out of an early-season hole with two hits in four trips, scoring once and driving in a run.

The Phils took an 8-2 lead into the eighth inning, but Ryan Madson gave half of it back as he allowed four hits and three runs—the first time he was scored upon since April 18, a stretch of 10 straight scoreless outings. With a save situation in effect, Charlie Manuel called upon Brad Lidge to preserve the 8-5 lead, and the closer broke his own string of six straight appearances in which he had allowed at least one run by shutting the Nationals down without damage in the 9th.

The nightcap saw more offensive heroics against beleaguered Washington starter Daniel Cabrera, who fell to 0-5 on the season. Ibanez hit his third home run of the day (he finished a combined 5-8 with a walk, four runs scored and seven driven in for the whole day) and 13th of the season, Ryan Howard added his 8th, and Chase Utley rebounded from his recent struggles and a spot on the bench in the opener to go 3 for 3. Andrew Carpenter, called up to make the emergency start, surrendered eight hits and three walks in just 4.1 innings, throwing 99 pitches on the night before leaving with a 7-4 lead and a man on base. Clay Condrey allowed a triple to cut the Phils' advantage to 7-5, but struck out the next two Nationals hitters to make the game official. The Phils actually loaded the bases with none out and Howard batting in the 6th before rain stopped play, and after a delay of well over an hour the game was called. 

Chan Ho Park takes the mound Sunday as the Phillies look to finish a four-game sweep. Jordan Zimmermann goes for Washington.