NL East Rundown: Here Come the Nationals

NL East Rundown: Here Come the Nationals

The Washington Nationals put eight more runs on the board Friday and received some help from the Philadelphia Phillies to pull within five games of first place in the NL East going into Saturday’s games. The help came from Cliff Lee, who won despite his worst start in two months, pushing his record to 10-2 as the Phillies beat the first place Braves, 5-4.

Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 4

Cliff Lee’s win came with the help of Humberto Quintero and Ryan Howard, who both homered off Paul Maholm (9-7).

The Phillies staked Lee to a 5-0 lead before the Braves made it a game in the seventh, with Dan Uggla hitting a three run homer and McCann and Johnson getting hits to chase Lee.

Washington 8, San Diego 5

Gio Gonzalez (6-3) wasn’t sharp, but won his third straight start as the Nationals offense provided him with eight runs of support in beating the Padres, 8-5. Andrew Cashner (5-4) had his worst start of the year for the Padres, going two innings and giving up six runs.

Gonzalez, who recently went through a run of six straight starts with less than three runs of run support from the Nationals offense, yielded three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. Wilson Ramos drove in three runs for the Nationals, giving him eight RBI in two games since returning from the DL. Chase Headley homered and drove in two runs for the Padres.

New York Mets 12, Milwaukee 5

Rookie Zack Wheeler (2-1) gave up one earned run over five shaky innings as the Mets offense provided him with plenty of support, beating the Brewers 12-5 Friday night. Brewers starter Johnny Hellweg (0-2) took the loss, yielding seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had four hits and drove in five runs for the Mets, raising his average from .179 to .233. Juan Francisco hit his 11th home run for the Brewers, and Carlos Gomez had four hits.

St. Louis 4, Miami 1

Jake Westbrook (5-3) went seven strong innings for the Cardinals to beat Jacob Turner (2-1) and the Marlins, 4-1. The Marlins lost for only the third time in 11 games, while the Cards won for only the fourth time in 12 games.

Logan Morrison hit a home run in the second for the Marlins, ending Westbrook’s streak of 23 innings pitched at home without an earned run.