WASHINGTON (AP) — Marlon Byrd spent most of the night swinging and missing against Washington Nationals pitchers. Connecting once proved to be enough.
Byrd struck out three times, but hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning, Roberto Hernandez pitched eight strong innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Nationals 2-1 Friday night.
"It was one of those things where I took one good swing all night out of four at-bats, but it worked," Byrd said of his home run off Doug Fister (10-3).
His heroics came one day after his general manager expressed surprise teams weren't more aggressive in pursuing Byrd, who's hitting .271 with 21 homers.
"It feels good to be wanted (here)," Byrd said. "But at the same time Ruben (Amaro) was probably like, 'hey this is my guy, you're going to have to do something big for me to pull the trigger.'"
Grady Sizemore and Cody Asche had two hits apiece for Philadelphia.
Hernandez (6-8) allowed an unearned run on five singles. He retired the last 10 batters he faced and 17 of the last 18. Over his last four starts, Hernandez is 3-0 with a 1.88 earned run average, including two wins against Washington while allowing no earned runs over 15 1-3 innings.
"There were some hard hit balls. Some good plays behind him," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "But he was aggressive in the strike zone and stayed ahead of the hitters."
The Nationals hit numerous line drives that ended up in Philadelphia gloves.
"We wish we could steer it," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "I think Susan Sarandon said it, 'Hit it where they ain't.' We didn't do a very good job of that tonight."
Hernandez himself made a stellar catch off a smash at him by Denard Span in the eighth.
"I don't know how I caught that ball," he said.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 26th save. He allowed a pair of one-out singles before striking out Bryce Harper and Nationals newcomer Asdrubal Cabrera.
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