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SD@WSH: Roark fans eight in three-hit shutout

Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett is 1-1 with a 2.15 ERA in six starts, despite pitching with an inguinal hernia. He actually is 1-0 with a 0.83 ERA in three starts since being diagnosed with the injury.

Burnett's success could be explained by being more mindful of his pitching mechanics.

"He said it's keeping him humble," Phillies catcher Wil Nieves joked. "Instead of trying too hard, he is throwing nice and easy. Hopefully, he can keep the hernia all year."

As for Burnett's counterpart, Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark, he is becoming one of the most consistent starters for the Nationals. Over his last two starts, he hasn't allowed a run.

Of the two starts, Roark's best game was last Saturday, when he pitched a three-hit shutout against the Padres at Nationals Park. Before the game, Roark, 27, had a bullpen session that made him believe he could possibly have the game of his life.

"I was staying on the ball command-wise," Roark said. "You have those games where you don't know where the ball is going and then you have a great feel of every pitch. That's how I felt that day."

Phillies: Time to make a run
The Phillies entered this weekend's series against the Nationals having played just 10 games at home, the fewest of any team in baseball.

That number will correct itself in May. Including this weekend's series against Washington, the Phillies play 20 of their next 27 games at home. It is an excellent opportunity for them to make a move in the National League East with 13 of those 27 games against division opponents.

Nationals: Rendon stays hot at plate
Third baseman Anthony Rendon continues to be the Nationals' best hitter. He has a .311 batting average and leads the team with 21 RBIs. He drove in the tying run in the eighth inning against reliever Mike Adams in Friday's 5-3 win. He singled up the middle, scoring Denard Span.

Rendon has played brilliant defense at third and second base. By next year, he is expected to be the regular third baseman, while Ryan Zimmerman is expected to switch to from third base to first base.

Worth noting
• Former Phillies closer Brad Lidge will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game.

• The Phillies went 13-13 in April, their first time the Phillies finished .500 or better in the first month of the season since they went 18-8 in 2011.

• Nationals outfielder Tyler Moore is 6-for-12 (.500) against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee.

• Nationals closer Rafael Soriano extended his scoreless streak to 23 innings on Friday. He has converted his last 18 save opportunities.

• Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has reached safely in each of his last 12 games (.446 on-base percentage). Comments