Giles rebounds with solid showing vs. Nationals

Right-hander fans two in scoreless inning of relief in Friday's win

Giles rebounds with solid showing vs. Nationals

PHILADELPHIA -- Ken Giles is still not pumping 100 mph fastballs, but he looked better Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

He allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning in a 4-1 victory over the Nationals. After he retired the first two batters he faced, he allowed a double to Yunel Escobar. Giles recovered and struck out Bryce Harper looking on a 1-2 slider to end the inning.

"It was good to see Giles," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's working on some things. He made some good adjustments on his slider for this game and [quality sliders were] his big pitch with Harper. So really saw an improved slider. Still working on his fastball, but he did throw a couple in the zone that kept them honest."

Giles allowed one hit, two unearned runs, three walks and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning Wednesday in a victory over the Red Sox. His ineffectiveness forced Jonathan Papelbon to pick up a four-out save.

Wednesday's struggles seemed to continue a troubling trend from the spring. Giles went 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA in 14 appearances this spring with his fastball never hitting more than 95 mph. He walked 12 and struck out 15 in 13 1/3 innings.

Compare that to 2014, when Giles went 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA and one save in 44 appearances. He allowed 25 hits, 11 walks and struck out 64 in 45 2/3 innings. His fastball sat in the 98-100 mph range.

Giles' fastball hit 96 mph once Friday.

"He got back down in the zone," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "I went out there and told him to throw it through me, get the ball down. And he did. He threw strikes. He's got two good pitches. It's kind of either or with him. If he's locating his fastball his slider is even better. He was on. He had his good stuff."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.