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Rollins' two HRs power Phillies

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 11 2014 10:29:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 11 2014 10:29:06 PM CDT

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins rediscovered his power stroke and the Philadelphia Phillies regained their winning touch.

The veteran shortstop homered twice and drove in three runs Friday night as the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 6-2.

Left fielder Domonic Brown also doubled in two runs for Philadelphia, which won its fifth straight game to match its longest winning streak of the season.

Rollins hit a two-run homer in the third inning off Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (6-5) and a solo shot in the seventh off reliever Craig Stammen.

The 35-year-old Rollins now has 11 home runs this season after hitting a career-low six in 160 games last year. He is at a loss to explain his resurgence.

"I'm not any stronger," he said, adding that it's a matter of "just being able to get to that stroke, being able to catch the ball in the right spot and get some good flight on it, picking pitches -- get in situations where they're giving me the pitch and capitalizing."

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Rollins has been using the entire field this season.

"The power and pull stroke," Sandberg said, "is just a secondary reaction."

It was the ninth multi-homer game of Rollins' career and the first since he hit two at Washington on Aug. 1, 2012. He also became the second Phillies player to homer twice in a game this season. Right fielder Marlon Byrd did so on June 29 against Atlanta.

The Phillies, who have struggled much of the season at the plate, scored 31 runs during their winning streak. Rollins said the hitters huddled during a series in Milwaukee -- a four-game set that Philadelphia swept -- and they were able to "put things back in perspective."

The Phillies are still nine games below .500 at 42-51 and remain in last place in the National League East. Rollins believes the team will be a seller at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"That decision's already been made," he said. "I don't know if it's a fire, but there's something going on, and hopefully it turns into a fire."

Left fielder Bryce Harper hit a solo homer for Washington, which has dropped three of four.

Philadelphia starter A.J. Burnett (6-8) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings to end his two-game losing streak. Burnett, who last won when he beat St. Louis on June 20, struck out six and walked four.

Burnett has won six of his last seven decisions against the Nationals, improving his career record against Washington to 10-4.

Rookie Ken Giles relieved Burnett in the eighth and allowed an RBI double to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman but retired the last four hitters he faced.

Jordan Zimmermann departed after 3 1/3 innings with what is being described as a biceps cramp. The right-hander will undergo an MRI on Saturday to determine the full extent of the injury, but manager Matt Williams does not expect Zimmermann, who made the NL All-Star team for the second straight season, to be able to pitch in next Tuesday's game in Minneapolis.

"It was getting worse with every pitch," Zimmermann said. "Hopefully, the MRI comes out good."

He had pitched to a 1.26 ERA in his previous seven starts but on Friday had given up four runs and six hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter in losing for just the second time in his last six outings against the Phillies.

Byrd and third baseman Cody Asche singled with one out in the second inning and Brown then lashed a double into the gap in right center field, scoring both runners.

Rollins made it 4-0 with a two-run homer in the third inning, his 10th home run of the season. His blast into the right field seats followed a leadoff single by center fielder Grady Sizemore and came on an 0-1 fastball from Zimmermann.

An RBI double by catcher Cameron Rupp in the sixth inning gave Philadelphia a 5-0 lead. Harper led off the following inning with a homer against Burnett, Harper's second home run of the season.

NOTES: Washington C Wilson Ramos singled in the fifth inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. ... OF Grady Sizemore started in center field and batted leadoff for the Phillies, one day after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sizemore, released by Boston on June 20 and signed by Philadelphia five days later, hit .283 in 11 games for the IronPigs. ... Phillies LHP Cliff Lee, on the disabled list since May 19 with a left elbow strain, will make a rehab start for Class A Clearwater on Monday. Manager Ryne Sandberg said Lee, moved to the 60-day DL on Thursday, will throw up to 75 pitches. ... Philadelphia C Carlos Ruiz, on the disabled list since June 27 with concussion-like symptoms, hit off a tee Friday, his first day of baseball activities since he was disabled. He will continue such activities at Clearwater during the All-Star break, then work his way back into game situations. ... Washington SS Ian Desmond did not play after being hit on the right hand by a pitch from Baltimore RHP Darren O'Day on Thursday. Desmond is day to day.