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Phils drop below .500 with 4-3 loss at Nats in 11

Associated Press Published: May 5, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel's evening ended early: He was ejected in the bottom of the first for arguing about a check-swing call.

His complaints hardly stopped there in what turned out to be a 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals in 11 innings Friday night.

On a night when the umpiring crew was a man short because Joe West missed the game with an illness, Manuel was disappointed with two calls in the seventh inning: A ball hit down the third-base line by Carlos Ruiz was called foul ("Fair ball, all night long," Manuel said) and, later, Shane Victorino was called out when attempting to steal third ("He was safe, but it was a tough call to see," according to the manager).

This was Washington's fifth walk-off victory of the season, the most in the majors, according to STATS LLC. The Nationals improved to 4-2 in extra innings; the Phillies fell to 0-4.

"They kind of have a bigger feeling when you're playing the Phillies. I felt they were the best team in baseball last year. To come in and beat them the first time in our house ... it was a big game for us, and I'm sure the Phillies felt the same way, because we're sitting on top," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Well, maybe not.

Asked whether this series is a chance for the Phillies to put the Nationals in their place, Victorino said: "Nah. This is just one game in the series. Just one of 162."

Since moving to Washington from Montreal, the Nationals never had even finished so much as third in the NL East until last season. Now they're atop the division at 17-9, while the perennial champion Phillies are 13-14 and haven't been above .500 since starting the season 1-0.

Steve Lombardozzi started the winning rally against Michael Schwimer (0-1) by singling with two outs, and 19-year-old Bryce Harper drew his third walk of the game before Jayson Werth walked to load the bases.

That brought up Ramos, who hit a 1-2 slider to bring home Lombardozzi and set off a celebration, with his teammates streaming out of the dugout to greet him at first base. Someone smeared Ramos with shaving cream.

"Early in the game, I was sitting on the bench, eating sunflower seeds and talking to my teammates," Ramos said, describing life as a catcher given a day off.

When he was told to go bat, Ramos recalled, "I just take my batting gloves and (thought), 'OK, I'm the man. Go out and hit the ball hard.'"

And he did.

"I was freaking out," Lombardozzi said.

Ryan Perry (1-0), Washington's sixth pitcher, earned the win with a perfect 11th, getting the No. 3-4-5 hitters — Placido Polanco, Hunter Pence and Victorino — on groundouts.

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