Harper can't prevent end of Nats' win streak

Harper can't prevent end of Nats' win streak

Harper can't prevent end of Nats' win streak
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals played in front of a national audience on Sunday night for the first time since 2008, but they didn't have a good showing as they lost to the Phillies, 9-3, in front of 33,058 at Nationals Park.

The loss snapped Washington's four-game winning streak.

The Nationals got off to a great start against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who hit Bryce Harper with a pitch with two outs in the first inning. Hamels acknowledged that he was trying to throw at Harper.

"I was trying to hit him," Hamels said. "I'm not going to deny it. That's just ... something that I grew up watching, that's what happened, so I'm just trying to continue the old baseball," Hamels said. "I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything just because that's the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball."

Harper was politically correct when told that Hamels hit him on purpose.

"[I'm not mad] at all," Harper said. "He is a great guy, great pitcher, he knows how to pitch, he is an All-Star. It's all good. ... Hamels threw a good game tonight. You have to give all the props to him. He came out there, he threw the ball well. There is nothing we can do about it."

Harper advanced to third on a single by Jayson Werth, before getting his revenge by stealing home while Hamels tried to pick off Werth at first base. The rookie is the second player in Nationals history to steal home and the first to do so on a straight steal. Ian Desmond stole home, as part of a double steal on April 20, 2011, against the Cardinals.

Before the game, Harper said he had a talk with Werth about Hamels' pickoff moves.

"We were just looking at his pickoff move before the game," Harper said. "I was trying to read some things. We saw something, took advantage of that, got a run early. He threw a good game tonight. I can't take anything away from him. He threw very, very well. He's an All-Star. He threw eight innings. He really threw the ball well."

It was all Phillies after Harper's daring move. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann started for Washington and allowed three runs in the fourth inning. Hunter Pence highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer. Three batters later, Placido Polanco singled up the middle, scoring Laynce Nix.

But the Nationals received bad news later in the game.

Werth left the game after breaking his left wrist in the sixth inning. He is expected to be out for at least six weeks. It's the same wrist he broke as a member of the Dodgers in 2005. He ended up missing all of 2006 because of the injury.

Werth will be consulting with the Mayo Clinic to figure out the next course of action. He will also confer with the surgeon who operated on his wrist when he was with the Dodgers.

"That's [bad]. That's really bad," an upset Harper said.

The injury occurred when Polanco hit a blooper to right field in the top of the sixth. Werth dove for the ball and it looked like he caught it, but the ball came out of his glove for a single after his left wrist was bent backward. Werth was in pain and left the game a few minutes later and was replaced by Xavier Nady.

"He is going to be down for a while. He is going to see a specialist," manager Davey Johnson said. "It's a clean break. He will be out for a while. I'm not a doctor. We are going to get experts on it."

The Phillies put the game away by scoring six runs in the ninth inning off relievers Ryan Perry and Tom Gorzelanny. All the runs were charged to Perry. Pence highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer, his second of the game.

Now, the Nationals must face playing without Werth for quite some time.

"We seem to be getting a little ... healthier and -- boom," Johnson said. "One of our main guys goes down. We dealt with it before. We'll deal with it again. ... That was a tough blow. I was anxious to get a lot of the guys back on Tuesday."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.