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Fister, Nationals hand Phillies fifth straight loss

Apr 17, 2015 - 4:29 AM Washington, DC ( - Yunel Escobar and Michael Taylor each homered, Doug Fister tossed 6 2/3 solid innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 in the opener of a four-game series.

Ryan Zimmerman knocked in two runs for the Nationals, who started a seven-game homestand on Thursday. Fister (1-0) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on four hits while striking out four and walking four.

"Things are starting to get rolling right now," Taylor said.

Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf had one RBI apiece for the Phillies, who have lost five in a row. Struggling first baseman Ryan Howard hit seventh for the first time since April 21, 2006. The 35-year-old Howard went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Cole Hamels (0-2) allowed five runs on five hits to go along with seven strikeouts and four walks over six innings. The left-hander has given up seven homers this season.

"I'm supposed to be the guy that stops the bleeding," Hamels said. "Not being able to do it today is definitely frustrating."

Escobar wasted no time getting the Nationals on the scoreboard as he launched the first offering from Hamels over the wall in left-center field.

The Phillies tied the game in the third. Ruf, who led off with a double, was thrown out at third when Hamels put down a bunt. But Galvis followed with an RBI triple off the wall in right-center field.

Ruf added a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Jeff Francoeur walked and moved to second when Cody Asche grounded out. Carlos Ruiz then hit a line drive to center that Taylor failed to catch. Howard was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ruf, who flied out to center.

The Nationals tied things up in the bottom half. Bryce Harper walked, advanced to second on a balk and raced home on Wilson Ramos' bloop single to center.

Taylor led off the fifth with a blast over the wall in left-center field.

Washington took a 5-2 lead on Zimmerman's two-run double in the sixth. Jayson Werth doubled and Harper walked before Zimmerman's hit down the right- field line.

Fister's night came to an end after he loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh. Matt Thornton came in from the bullpen and got Chase Utley to line out.

Aaron Barrett and Drew Storen each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Storen picked up his third save of the season.

Game Notes

The Nationals, who are 4-6 on the season, have scored four or more runs in each of the last five games ... Howard entered the game hitting .148 (4- for-27) with an RBI, no walks and 10 strikeouts ... Hamels had allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last 21 road starts ... Nationals reliever Craig Stammen has been diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon and will undergo surgery that's expected to end his season ... Washington recalled pitcher Felipe Rivero from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned pitcher Taylor Jordan to Syracuse.