PHILADELPHIA -- After walking the only batter he faced on Friday night, Josh Lindblom stayed up until about 3:30 in the morning studying video to try to pinpoint what was wrong. He spoke with his wife, his parents, and even got a call from coach Ken Howell, his bullpen coach with the Dodgers.
Lindblom ended up making a mechanical tweak on his shoulder rotation with the help of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee. It paid off big time in Sunday's series finale against the first-place Nationals.
With closer Jonathan Papelbon unavailable after pitching three straight days, Lindblom got the final five outs of the game to earn his first career save. The right-hander needed just 13 pitches and struck out three of the five Nationals he faced.
"That was big by him," starter Cliff Lee said. "He filled up the strike zone. Didn't really give them a chance to do anything."
Added manager Charlie Manuel: "That might have been the best I've seen him."
With the Dodgers, Lindblom went 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA. But since the Phillies acquired him on July 31 as part of the Shane Victorino trade, Lindblom had struggled with command and too often fell behind in counts. He entered Sunday 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA with Philadelphia.
After adjusting how much he was rotating his shoulders in his windup, his command was much improved on Sunday.
"[It] feels great," said Lindblom, the first 2012 Phillie not named Papelbon to record a save. "Since I came over, I've struggled mechanically. I think I've tried to maybe justify this trade and try to do more than I'm capable of, instead of just being myself."
With a great outing behind him, Lindblom hopes to continue the success he had on Sunday and be more consistent moving forward.
Said Lindblom with a smile, "I'll probably sleep a little bit better tonight."
Phils' Brown out of lineup for second straight game
PHILADELPHIA -- Still nursing his sore left knee, Domonic Brown was given a second straight break from the starting lineup on Sunday.
On Saturday, Brown was not in the lineup for the first time since July 31, the day of his callup from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He pinch-hit for starter Roy Halladay in the seventh inning of Saturday's 4-2 win, striking out against Nationals right-hander Ryan Mattheus.
Brown thinks his left knee might be overcompensating for his right, which he strained in mid-June while playing for the IronPigs. He may have bruised his left knee from diving in the outfield or sliding into home.
"Nothing serious," Brown said before Sunday's series finale against Washington. "It's just a little sore. That's it."
With Monday's off-day, keeping Brown out of the lineup on Sunday gives him three straight days to rest and get ready for Tuesday's series opener against the Mets.
Manager Charlie Manuel said after Sunday's win that he expects Brown to play on Tuesday vs. New York.
Since his recall, Brown has been a regular in the Phillies' outfield, playing 14 games in right field and 10 in left. In 25 total games, he's hit .270 with a home run, seven doubles and 11 RBIs. He's also showed off his strong arm, already leading the team with six outfield assists. That's six off the National League leader, Arizona's Jason Kubel, who has played 79 more games.
"I think I'm doing all right," Brown said. "We're winning games, so that's the big thing."
Juan Pierre, who started in left field on Sunday, tied Maury Wills for 19th place all-time stolen-base leaders list. Pierre, who leads the Phillies with 32 swipes, is baseball's active leader in the category with 586.
Placido Polanco was out of the lineup again on Sunday. Still bothered by lower back inflammation, the veteran third baseman has started just two games -- on Monday and Wednesday against the Reds -- since he was activated from the disabled list on Monday.
Nate Schierholtz (broken toe) began his rehab assignment on Sunday, playing right field and batting third for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 0-for-4. On Saturday, Schierholtz said his understanding was that the assignment would last through Friday and he would return to the Phillies on Sept. 1, when rosters expand. The IronPigs play at home Sunday through Friday, with a day off on Tuesday.
Ryan Howard was hitting .350 (14-40) over his last 10 games entering Sunday. In that span, he'd hit four doubles, one home run and driven in seven runs.
Sunday's series finale against the Nationals ends a stretch of 17 games in 17 days for the Phillies, who have an off-day on Monday before starting a three-game home series against the Mets.
In the series against the Mets that begins Tuesday, the Phillies will not have to face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (16-4, 2.76 ERA). Instead, they'll face right-handers Chris Young (3-7, 4.33) and Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75), and left-hander Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51). Niese is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts against Philadelphia this season.
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.