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Morse powers Nats past Phillies

Sep 28, 2012 - 5:03 AM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Michael Morse clubbed two homers and drove in four, helping the Washington Nationals move closer to clinching the NL East with a 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the rubber match of a three- game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Bryce Harper hit a solo homer and added an RBI single for the Nationals, who reduced their magic number for securing the division title to three. Gio Gonzalez (21-8) overcame a shaky first inning to pitch six frames and become the major's first 21-game winner.

"I just couldn't find the strike zone. I was a little out of whack. After the first inning, I kind of settled in," Gonzalez said.

Tyler Cloyd (2-2) surrendered six runs on six hits in five-plus innings for Philadelphia, which has been all but eliminated from playoff contention. The Phillies are six games behind St. Louis for the second wild card spot with six to play.

Harper's first-inning blast staked Gonzalez to an early lead, but the Phillies jumped on the Cy Young Award candidate for three, two-out runs in the bottom of the first.

Chase Utley's single kept the inning alive and Gonzalez walked the next two batters to load the bases for Darin Ruf, who cleared them with a double to center field.

"It was a fastball, a pretty good pitch down," recalled Ruf. "I stayed with it and hit it over Bryce's (Harper) head."

It was all Nationals after Gonzalez's hiccup.

Morse homered to lead off the second and tied the game with a groundout in the fourth. Harper plated Danny Espinosa with a two-out single in the next inning and Morse followed Adam LaRoche's leadoff double in the sixth with a home run to center field.

Eury Perez, who came off the Washington bench to pinch run for Mark DeRosa, scored on wild pitch in the seventh.

Game Notes

Harper's homer gave him 21 for the season, matching the franchise mark for a rookie. Espinosa hit 21 last year ... Gonzalez gave up six hits, walked three and struck out six ... The Phillies concluded the home portion of their schedule with a 40-41 record. They had finished .500 or better at home in each of the last 11 seasons.


    Sep 27 10:22 PM

  • Ryan Zimmerman struck out swinging scored Eury Perez with one out. On the play, Bryce Harper advances to second and Jayson Werth advances to third on a wild pitch by Jeremy Horst. Runners on second and third and Adam LaRoche due up.

    Nationals 7, Phillies 3  Top 7, 1 OutSep 27 9:27 PM

  • Michael Morse none-out, two-run Home Run 2 (16) to center scored Adam LaRoche. Ian Desmond due up.

    Nationals 6, Phillies 3  Top 6, 0 OutsSep 27 8:51 PM

  • Bryce Harper single to left scored Danny Espinosa with two out. On the play, Jayson Werth advances to third. Runners on first and third and Ryan Zimmerman due up.

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  • Michael Morse ground out short to first scored Ryan Zimmerman with two out. None on and Ian Desmond due up.

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  • Michael Morse lead-off Home Run (15) to left. Ian Desmond due up.

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  • Erik Kratz flied out to right to end the inning.

    Nationals 1, Phillies 3  End 1Sep 27 7:35 PM

  • Bryce Harper one-out, solo Home Run (21) to right center. Ryan Zimmerman due up.

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    Nationals vs. PhilliesDec 20 6:03 AM