PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A mechanical adjustment in between starts helped A.J. Burnett out of a funk.
Burnett struck out 12 in seven innings and Cody Asche and Carlos Ruiz homered to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
"I just noticed something with my delivery, or the leg kick," Burnett said. "I just noticed something wasn't right. I was like, 'That's not me out there. Who is that?' It's the first time I felt like me in a long time."
Domonic Brown had two hits and an RBI for Philadelphia, which won for the fourth time in five games.
Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon homered for NL East-leading Washington, which lost for just the second time in 14 games.
Burnett (7-14) won for the first time since the All-Star break, allowing one run on three hits with just one walk. The right-hander entered leading the majors in walks with 76.
"I wish I could have found that little glitch about a month, two months ago," Burnett said. "Unfortunately it took a long time, but better late than never."
Tanner Roark (12-8) gave up two runs on five hits in six innings and lost for just the second time in his last nine starts. Roark has a 2.25 ERA over that stretch.
"I felt good, I felt confident," Roark said. "I had command on both sides of the plate. My offspeed was good."
Burnett retired the first eight batters before Roark's two-out single in the third. It was just the pitcher's sixth hit in 60 at-bats this season.
The Nationals didn't get another hit until Rendon's one-out homer to left in the sixth that pulled them within 2-1. It was the third homer 15 at-bats for Rendon off Burnett.
"If he hits it good, the ball's going to carry," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He's been a very pleasant surprise."
Burnett had been 0-6 with a 7.41 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break prior to Monday. But he was stellar against Washington, setting a season-high in strikeouts while finishing in double-digits for the 35th time in his career.
"The difference was more strikes on the board early on in the at-bats," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Brown's RBI single and went up 2-0 on Asche's leadoff homer to deep right in the fifth.