(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Phillies eye a series victory and a move above .500 on Sunday afternoon as they conclude a three-game set with the Washington Nationals.
After suffering their second loss in a row in Friday's opener, the Phils rode their bats to a 7-2 victory last night. Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer in the first inning, while Cody Asche also went deep.
Jimmy Rollins had four hits and scored twice, and Marlon Byrd notched a two- run single to back starter A.J. Burnett, who tossed six effective innings. He yielded three hits -- on a solo homer to Adam LaRoche -- and struck out seven.
"We came out swinging," said Burnett. "Anytime you get a couple early it makes you settle in and not worry too much and just focus on throwing strikes. For the most part I had good control of that two-seam fastball tonight. That was a good pitch for me getting out of jams."
Zach Walters also slugged a solo homer for the Nationals, who saw their three- game win streak come to a halt.
Tanner Roark was charged with seven runs on as many hits despite five strikeouts over four-plus frames.
"Last time out, Tanner was great. This time, not so much," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Everything was flat. The sinker wasn't sinking (and) the breaking ball was up in the zone."
With Cole Hamels having his scheduled start from today pushed back to Tuesday due to the flu, Roberto Hernandez will make his first start since April 25 for the Phillies.
Hernandez was tagged with a loss on that day, giving up four runs over six innings versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had his next turn in the rotation skipped due to off days, pitching in relief on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old righty was in line to start next week, but will move up in place of Hamels.
"He's prepped to go," Phils manager Ryne Sandberg told his club's website of Hernandez. "We were staying away from (using him out of the bullpen) just knowing how Cole was feeling. ... He's all good to go."
Hernandez is 1-1 with a 5.74 earned run average on the season and 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA in two previous starts versus the Nationals.,
Washington turns to lefty Gio Gonzalez, who has not factored into the decision of his last two starts. However, the Nationals won both and are 5-1 in Gonzalez's six outings on the year.
Gonzalez fanned a season-high nine batters over six innings on Tuesday at Houston, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks. He sits 3-1 on the season with a 3.25 ERA.
The 28-year-old is 5-2 in his career versus the Phillies with a 2.66 ERA.
Washington went 11-8 against the Phillies last season.