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07/26/07 8:01 PM ET
Phillies lose game, Utley
Second baseman heads to DL after Nats overcome early deficit
By Stephen Fastenau / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Chances are good that Jesus Flores isn't in Mike Zagurski's five. The Nationals backup catcher victimized the rookie lefty in the past two games. His home run Thursday led to a 7-6 loss at Citizens Bank Park, costing the Phillies a sweep and their All-Star second baseman. Had it not been for the timely offense of Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard on Wednesday, Zagurski would still be thinking about Flores' two-run double that coughed up a Phillies lead a night earlier. "Last night, I was trying to get a strikeout," Zagurski said. "Today, we had two outs where all I had to do was get a pop-up, ground ball, something to get an out. I thought changeup was the right pitch. If I get that pitch, I think I get a ground ball to Chase [Utley] at second and we're out of there." The Phillies pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth, but left the tying run on third when Abraham Nunez grounded out to end the game. Zagurski trotted on in relief of Jose Mesa with two outs in an eighth inning that was extended by a Wes Helms error. Zagurski got Ryan Church to fly to left, but left a tasty pitch to Flores, who deposited it over the fence for a three-run homer. That pitch erased a solid 6 1/3-inning effort from Adam Eaton, who was charged with four runs on eight hits, yet at one point retired 13 straight batters. He left after allowing a one-out single, then a double in the seventh, and J.C. Romero allowed those runners to score with a single. After the parade of relievers that was the Phillies 14-inning win Wednesday, Eaton was trying to give the bullpen as much rest as possible. "Anytime you go out there, you want to pitch as deep in the game as you can," he said. He got off to a rocky start, though, making decent pitches with bad results. A first-inning pitch inside to Dimitri Young jammed the Nationals first baseman, but he turned it into an RBI single. "His hands probably weren't feeling too good running to first base," Eaton said. Eaton was later victimized by a bad hop on a ground ball to Wes Helms. But the pitcher settled in, and retired 13 consecutive batters from the second to sixth inning. A tense inning occurred in the fifth, when home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ejected John Lannan for hitting Utley and Ryan Howard on consecutive pitches. The lefty starter was making his Major League debut. Utley learned from X-rays after the game that the hand was broken. Assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said doctors told him on a scale of 1-10, Utley's break is no more than a two or three, but that doesn't mean the two-time All-Star will be back any time soon. "We're losing one of the best players in the game for who knows how many weeks," Amaro said. Howard had homered in his previous at-bat, and won Wednesday's game with a home run in the 14th inning. He's hitting .314 since coming off the disabled list May 25, with 62 RBIs in 50 games. One pitch after plunking Utley on the right hand, Lannan hit Howard on the right shoulder. Lannan was immediately tossed by Wendelstedt, along with Nationals manager Manny Acta, who argued. "I see no reason for a kid making his Major League debut, who started the season in [Class A], to be thrown out of the game," Acta said. The pitch that nailed Utley came on an 0-2 count, not a likely count to intentionally throw at someone. The one that hit Howard was more suspect, coming on the first pitch and bouncing off his right shoulder. Lannan maintained he was just having control problems. Acta said Wendelstedt had made mention earlier in the game that Lannan was "all over the place." But after Howard was hit, the explanation given Acta before he was tossed was that the bean ball was a response to the first baseman's home run his previous at-bat. "I wasn't throwing at anybody," Lannan said. "I was just trying to go inside." Eaton said he was warned by Wendelstedt not to retaliate when he came out for the sixth. The 30-year-old said if he hit anyone, it would be an accident. "I'm not trying to hit anybody in that situation," Eaton said. "I don't think [Lannan] was trying to hit anybody on purpose. He's probably not used to throwing in to lefties. He just left a couple balls out." There was no more drama after the bottom of the fifth, at least as far as tempers flaring. Four Nationals relievers salvaged a no-decision for the 22-year-old Lannan, giving up just a run over the final 4 2/3 innings. Zagurski served up the go-ahead hit to Flores, then retired the final four Nationals batters to give the Phillies a chance. But they couldn't get to Nationals closer Chad Cordero for more than a run, and Flores' shot held up. Zagurski said veteran Jamie Moyer had encouraging words for him after the game. "I'm fortunate that I have him and the [Tom Gordons] of the world, who have played for 20 years each," Zagurski said. "They give me advice to take away from days like this, to try to take a positive, and not dwell on the negative and what went wrong."
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Ken Mandel contributed to the story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.