Jackson earns loss as Nationals fall 3-2 to the Phillies

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

Rollins hits two homers

off Nats right-hander

Everywhere Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson looked on Wednesday night, Jimmy Rollins was there.

Long the engine that drove the Philadelphia Phillies to five consecutive National League East division titles, there is some thought Rollins, now 33, is fading as a player. Someone forgot to tell the aging shortstop.

Rollins homered twice off Jackson, ripping pitches over the wall in right field in both the third and fifth innings for solo home runs in a 3-2 Phillies victory at Nationals Park.

Philadelphia (47-57), two days after trading two starting outfielders and all but conceding the 2012 season, showed it at least remains a dangerous opponent after taking the series from Washington (61-42), which is still 2 ? games up in the NL East. The two teams play the finale on Thursday night.

Rollins was a force from the start, hitting a ball to the warning track in the first inning that pushed right fielder Bryce Harper flush against the wall. It just barely stayed in the park. Not so his next two plate appearances. Those two homers went along with Rollins' inside-the-park homer in Tuesday's 8-0 victory over the Nats.

The Phillies weren't finished after Rollins tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Nate Schierholtz, acquired this week in a trade with San Francisco, crushed the first pitch he saw to right as well. Just like that, Philadelphia turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Jackson, who gave up eight hits and four walks in just 52Ú3 innings, was lucky to escape the fifth after Chase Utley doubled and Ryan Howard walked. But a strikeout and a pair of ground outs ended the rally.

Washington put two runs on the board in the first inning thanks in large part to Philadelphia defensive miscues. An error by third baseman Kevin Frandsen loaded the bases. Adam LaRoche followed with an RBI single up the middle. Danny Espinosa hit a tailor-made double play grounder at second baseman Chase Utley, but the ball was bobbled and only one out recorded at second as Chad Tracy scored.

Meanwhile, Vance Worley was performing a feat similar to teammate Cliff Lee the night before. He retired 14 of the 16 batters he faced after allowing a leadoff single by Tracy in the third inning. Worley finished after seven innings with two runs allowed -- neither of them earned -- on six hits. Washington put the ball in play. Worley didn't strike out anyone and walked just one. But the best late chance to get to him faltered when LaRoche hit into a double play after Michael Morse led off with a single to begin the sixth.

Philadelphia's bullpen did the rest. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel used four relievers from his much-maligned bullpen to record the final six outs. Ryan Zimmerman singled with one out in the eighth, but Morse struck out and Zimmerman was caught stealing. In the ninth, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon retired the side in order in the ninth.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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