Bullpen blows lead, Phils lose to Nats

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2014 at 10:34 pm •  Published: May 2, 2014
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cliff Lee outpitched Stephen Strasburg in a matchup of aces and turned a one-run lead over to the bullpen.

That's a big problem for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Adam LaRoche's tiebreaking single in the eighth inning helped the Washington Nationals rally from an early deficit to beat the Phillies 5-3 Friday night.

After Lee departed, Mike Adams (1-1) and Jake Diekman allowed three runs and five hits in an inning.

The Phillies' relievers have a 5.07 ERA, worst in the NL. They've also blown six saves, though closer Jonathan Papelbon is 8 for 9.

"I think we'll take Mike Adams in the eighth inning every time," Lee said. "I know I will."

Benches and bullpens emptied in the fifth after Denard Span exchanged words with Lee. Span was upset that Lee threw an inside fastball as he called time out.

After he grounded out, Span stopped between the plate and the mound on his way back to the dugout and said something to Lee. Players ran on the field, but nothing happened.

"He kept looking at me so I just said, 'If you're going to stand there in the box, be ready to hit,'" Lee said. "I'll take that strike every time, but I threw a ball."

Lee allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits, striking out five in seven innings.

Strasburg was hurt by an error on right fielder Jayson Werth, who dropped a foul ball two pitches before Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer in the first inning. The hard-throwing right-hander gave up three unearned runs and six hits, striking out five in six innings.

Jerry Blevins (2-0) retired the two batters he faced in the seventh to earn the win. Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in six tries and extended his scoreless streak to 23 innings, dating to last season.

The Phillies, who played just their second game in five days, have lost two in a row at home after a 6-4 trip to the West Coast. They had two scheduled days off this week and another game was rained out.