Cloyd struggles, Phillies routed 11-2 by Nationals
The Philadelphia Phillies have positions to fill in their starting rotation as they look to next year.
Tyler Cloyd is one of the young pitchers eying a job, but Sunday's performance wasn't one he'll want to remember.
Cloyd (2-5) lasted just two batters into the fifth inning as the Washington Nationals roughed him up for five runs and 10 hits in an 11-2 rout.
Wilson Ramos had four hits and five RBIs, and Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven innings for his NL-best 18th win as the Nationals moved within 4 1/2 games of Cincinnati in the race for the final NL wild card.
Philadelphia led 1-0 and 2-1 before the Nationals went ahead for good with three runs in the fourth.
"Cloyd was pitching well through three innings and they put hits together in the fourth, put a crooked number up there and it was tough stopping them after that," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "They were a team that was swinging the bats well before we got here, coming into the series, and they showed that today."
Roger Bernadina had two doubles for the Phillies, who lost two of three in Washington and fell to 0-7-1 in road series since the All-Star break.
With Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels the only reliable starters of late, there is an opportunity for youngsters such as the 26-year-old Cloyd to make an impression.
"The game starts with starting pitching," Sandberg said. "I think the bullpen has been somewhat of a bright spot with maybe some answers there, which is a good thing, but, yeah, still the rotation needs to be addressed and it will be addressed."
Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 26 games, Bryce Harper hit a pair of doubles and a single and scored three times, and every player in the Nationals' starting lineup had at least one hit.
Harper added his third outfield assist in the three-game series when he caught Darin Ruf trying to stretch a single off the left-field wall into a double in the sixth.
Zimmerman (18-8) scattered seven hits and single runs in the second and third innings with seven strikeouts.
The serious trouble for Cloyd started with back-to-back doubles by Harper and Ian Desmond to lead off the fourth.
"He has to be real good with his command," Sandberg said. "And it seemed like today as the game got into the fourth it looked like balls started to be elevated a little bit and caught a lot of the plate."
Cloyd was lifted after giving up a pair of singles to open the fifth.
"I wasn't executing pitches," he said.
In his previous start, Cloyd allowed seven runs in four innings of an 8-2 loss to San Diego.
"Obviously I'm more disappointed I'm pitching bad and not giving the team a chance to win," he said.
Span singled up the middle in the third to extend his hitting streak, which is one shy of Colorado's Michael Cuddyer's for longest in the majors this season. Ramos started his 23rd consecutive game at catcher, passing St. Louis' Yadier Molina for most starts in a row behind the plate in the majors this year.
Ramos' four hits and five RBIs tied career-highs; he has 49 RBIs in 54 games since coming off the disabled list.
Washington went 9 for 13 with runners in scoring position; the Nationals began the day with a .239 RISP average, 25th in the major leaguers.
NOTES: Phillies LF Domonic Brown, returning from a right Achilles tendon injury, doubled and scored in the second inning in his first start since Aug. 30. He came off the bench Friday and Saturday. ... A pigeon wandered near the pitcher's mound, shortstop and second base for several innings. During warmups at the start of the eighth, the bird had a staredown with first base umpire Jim Wolf on the edge of the outfield grass. The crowd cheered whenever the pigeon attempted to fly, but the bird appeared to be injured and couldn't stay airborne for more than a few yards.
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