The crowd surpassed the old mark, set June 25, 2009, against the Boston Red Sox and their rabid followers, by 2,700. Phillies fans chanted players’ names, roared with each Philadelphia run and booed Jayson Werth for having the audacity to catch a flyball in right field or walk into the batter’s box.
When the game ended, the seats remained about 85 percent full, nearly all of them occupied by Phillies fans. Thousands had come by the busload, and now they stood and clapped as the final out beckoned. Nationals players could not help but notice.
“Of course,” first baseman Michael Morse said. “They’re cheering for the other team. You wish they were cheering for you.”
Said Manager Davey Johnson: “I mean, I love to see a packed ballpark. Hopefully, they’ll be rooting for us and there won’t be any room for those other guys. The Phillies have good fans. They love their baseball. And we didn’t do much to get our fans cheering.”
Phillies starter Roy Oswalt dominated for eight innings, striking out nine and handing the Nationals their 12th shutout loss this season. John Lannan pitched effectively for five innings, but came undone before a quick hook in the sixth and absorbed his 12th career loss against the Phillies.
A week before in Philadelphia, the Nationals made a mess, allowing seven unearned runs in an 11-3 loss. In Saturday’s rematch between Lannan and Oswalt, the Nationals did not reach those depths. But several crucial mistakes, along with their punchless offense, created another defeat.
Ryan Zimmerman provided a bright spot, going 3 for 4 the night after his walk-off grand slam stunned the Phillies. He raised his batting average to .364 since the all-star break and made a handful of slick plays at third base, the latest evidence he has fully recovered from surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.
The Phillies scored first with a two-out rally in the fourth, aided by a defensive blunder by shortstop Ian Desmond. Lannan rolled past Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence before John Mayberry roped a single to left. With Carlos Ruiz at the plate, Lannan picked off Mayberry at first.
Desmond had stationed himself far from second base, expecting Ruiz, a right-handed hitter, to pull the ball. In hindsight, Desmond said, he should have let second baseman Danny Espinosa cover second. Instead, he sprinted to the base and had to catch Morse’s perfect throw at full speed. And he dropped it.