for this game

Halladay continues mastery of Nats, Phils take series opener

May 31, 2011 - 12:48 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Raul Ibanez plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat Washington, 5-4, in the opener of a three-game series at Nationals Park.

Ryan Howard and Ibanez hit back-to-back home runs to highlight a three-run fourth for the National League East-leading Phillies, who have won five of their last six games.

Roy Halladay (7-3) won his 11th consecutive decision against the Montreal/Washington franchise despite allowing three homers -- all solo blasts -- for the 11th time in his career.

The right-hander gave up four runs total on 10 hits with no walks and five strikeouts in seven innings.

"[Halladay's] a competitor. We know over the course of the year you're not always going to have your best stuff," Howard said. "So this was a big team win because we were able to fight back."

Mike Morse, Danny Espinosa and Laynce Nix all went deep for the Nationals, who have lost three straight and fell to 1-8 in their last nine outings. Washington starter Livan Hernandez earned a no-decision after yielding four runs, eight hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.

Espinosa and Nix homered in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead.

Philadelphia countered with a pair of runs in the seventh. Sean Burnett (0-2) relieved Hernandez after a one-out single by Placido Polanco. The southpaw walked Chase Utley before Howard tied the game with a bouncer through the right side of the infield. Ibanez, the third consecutive left-handed hitter to face Burnett, then scored Utley with a fly ball to right.

Washington put its first two batters in the bottom of the frame on base, as Alex Cora doubled and Ian Desmond dropped down a bunt single. Halladay managed to escape the first-and-third jam with the one-run lead intact.

Rick Ankiel hit a comebacker to Halladay and Cora was eliminated in a rundown. Espinosa then flied out to left and former Phillie Jayson Werth struck out.

Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras combined to pitch the eighth for Philadelphia, while Ryan Madson threw a perfect ninth to earn his 12th save of the season.

"We're staying in games, but in the end you just want to win," Cora lamented.

Morse led off the second with a home run to left-center. The Nationals put runners on the corners later in the frame and Jerry Hairston scored on a squeeze bunt by Hernandez.

After Howard and Ibanez drew the Phillies even, Carlos Ruiz stroked a double and Domonic Brown followed with a run-scoring single for a 3-2 Philadelphia lead.

Game Notes

Halladay has now won each of his last 10 starts against the Montreal/Washington franchise. He is 11-0 in his last 12 starts against the club, with his last loss coming at Montreal on June 28, 2002...Halladay had allowed just two homers in 84 1/3 innings this season entering Monday...Ibanez has 999 career RBI.