PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jon Lieber pitched six strong innings and Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Washington Nationals 4-3 Wednesday night.

The victory moved the Phillies into a tie with Houston atop the NL wild-card race, and Washington remained a half-game behind.

Lieber (12-10) allowed two runs and three hits to win his third straight start after losing six of seven decisions.

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances. Ryan Madson worked out of a jam in the seventh after giving up a run. Ugueth Urbina pitched a scoreless eighth.

After the Nationals scored twice to tie it at 2 in the third, the Phillies went ahead for good in the bottom half.

Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off the inning against Esteban Loaiza (7-9). Kenny Lofton followed with a double. After Chase Utley bounced out to third, Abreu drove in both runners with a double high off the wall in left-center, giving the Phillies a 4-2 lead.

The Nationals were in position to tie it in the seventh, but couldn’t get a runner in from third with one out. Preston Wilson started with a single against Madson and Brian Schneider doubled. Castilla’s sacrifice fly to right scored Wilson and moved Schneider to third.

But pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga popped out to third base and Ryan Church, batting for reliever Luis Ayala, grounded to second.

Loaiza gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Castilla’s solo homer cut it to 2-1, and Jose Vidro’s two-out single scored Cristian Guzman, who doubled, to tie it in the third.

The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first on Utley’s sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Pat Burrell.

Notes: Rollins had two hits in his first two at-bats after entering in a 2-for-35 slump. … Abreu was 1-for-15 against Loaiza before his double in the third. … Castilla has three homers in his last nine games and nine this season. … The teams play a day-night doubleheader on Thursday, and have two more series in Washington next month.

AP-ES-08-17-05 2129EDT


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