Nationals 7, Phillies 6

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PHILADELPHIA – Jesus Flores hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Ryan Howard homered and Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBIs for the Phillies, who entered with a five-game winning streak, which had matched their season high.

Philadelphia led 5-2 before Washington rallied. Felipe Lopez hit a two-run, two-out single off J.C. Romero in the seventh, and Flores homered in the eighth off Mike Zagurski – Romero’s second of the season and first since July 1 off Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm.

Ryan Zimmerman grounded to third leading off the eighth but reached on a throwing error by Wes Helms. Jose Mesa (0-2), pitching in his 1,000th major league game, walked Austin Kearns with one out and Flores connected with two outs.

Jon Rauch (6-2) pitched two scoreless innings, and Chad Cordero finished for his 20th save in 27 chances. Chris Coste hit an RBI grounder, and a two-out walk to Carlos Ruiz put runners at the corners before Abraham Nunez grounded out.

Washington starter John Lannan was ejected from his major league debut after hitting Chase Utley and Howard with pitches in consecutive at-bats in the fifth. Nationals manager Manny Acta also was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Lannan allowed three runs and six hits in the first four innings. After getting the first out of the fifth, Lannan hit Utley on the right hand. Howard followed and was hit on the right shoulder. Although there were no warnings given, Wendelstedt immediately ejected Lannan.

Lannan was replaced by Chris Schroder, who gave up a two-run single to Burrell that put the Phillies ahead 5-2. Lannan was called up by Washington after he went a combined 12-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 20 games with three minor league teams this season.

Phillies starter Adam Eaton gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Dmitri Young and Austin Kearns hit consecutive RBI singles in the first, but Philadelphia closed to 2-1 in the bottom half on Utley’s run-scoring single.

Howard put the Phillies ahead 3-2 in the third with his 29th homer, a two-run drive. Howard has 13 homers and 34 RBIs off left-handers – both tops in the majors.

Notes: Mesa became the 11th player to pitch in 1,000 games. … Howard has 66 RBIs in his last 55 games, raising his NL-leading total to 85. … Burrell had a pair of singles and a double and is batting .440 (22-for-50) with 15 RBIs in his last 17 games. … The crowd of 43,413 was the Phillies’ 17th home sellout this year.

AP-ES-07-26-07 1652EDT

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