Facing one of the NL's top pitchers brought out Kyle Kendrick's best.
Kendrick outpitched All-Star Jordan Zimmermann, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Thursday night.
Kendrick (8-6) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings to help Philadelphia take three of four from the defending NL East champions.
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"He rose to the occasion," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Zimmermann was real good. Kendrick was right there with him."
The Phillies are 7-3 since July 2, including series wins over first-place Pittsburgh and Atlanta, to pull within 1½ games of the second-place Nationals and one game of .500.
"It's a big win for us," Kendrick said. "I knew it was going to be close. I just wanted to give us a chance and we got some big hits."
Zimmermann (12-4) gave up two runs and eight hits, striking out six in 6 1/3 innings.
"My stuff was good," Zimmermann said. "On the pitch to Frandsen, I didn't get the slider low enough and he just flicked it out there."
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Antonio Bastardo pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 20th save in 24 tries. Papelbon blew two saves against the Nationals last month and allowed two runs in a 3-2 win Monday night.
Darin Ruf led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left-field line. Pinch-runner John McDonald advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Frandsen's RBI double off center fielder Denard Span's glove.
"As a group, all of us are ready," Frandsen said of Philadelphia's bench. "We know there's one spot you're going to have a chance and fortunately I came through."
Frandsen is hitting .355 (11-for-31) with 10 RBI as a pinch-hitter this season.
"He's very valuable for us," Manuel said. "He's won a few games for us already."
Kendrick overcame a season-high four errors by the Phillies with two double plays and nine groundouts. Chase Utley had a career-worst three errors.
"I just had to battle and keep the game close," Kendrick said.
Utley got the Phillies an insurance run in the eighth by hitting a double to start the inning, moving to third on a fly ball and sliding in safely just ahead of a throw to the plate on Michael Young's grounder to second.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on Ben Revere's RBI single in the fifth. Carlos Ruiz reached on an infield single, advanced on Kendrick's sacrifice and scored on Revere's liner to left-center.
The lead didn't last long.
Bryce Harper hit a triple with one out in the sixth and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's sacrifice fly to right.
All-Star Domonic Brown threw out fellow All-Star Harper trying to score from second on Jayson Werth's two-out single to left in the first. That was Washington's first hit with runners in scoring position in the series after going 0 for 16.