WASHINGTON -- The Phillies had a chance Friday night to move to .500 for the first time in more than a month.
They will have to try again some other time.
They did little right in a 5-2 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park. Kyle Kendrick allowed eight hits, five runs, four walks and struck out one in five innings as he struggled with his command for the second consecutive start. The Philllies managed just six hits against Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Four of those hits came in the fifth inning, but they scored only one run.
The Phillies dropped to 23-25. They have not been .500 since they were 6-6 on April 14.
"Obviously, we've been up and down all year," Kendrick said. "We had a chance to get back there tonight and it's disappointing. We had a couple runs there and I couldn't hold it. Got to get after it, though."
The game started promisingly enough for the Phillies. They took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, when Ryan Howard doubled, moved to third on a fielder's choice and scored on Domonic Brown's single to right field. They took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Brown singled, reached second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on Freddy Galvis' single and scored on Erik Kratz's sacrifice fly to right.
But there were signs of trouble. The Nationals tied the game in the third, when Kendrick walked the bases loaded with one out. Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly scored Bryce Harper, but Kendrick got out of the inning without further damage.
Kendrick has walked eight batters in his past two starts, in which he has a 7.36 ERA (nine earned runs in 11 innings). He walked just eight in his previous seven starts, in which he posted a 1.84 ERA (10 earned runs in 49 innings).
"I think the last two, I've been behind in the count, not working ahead, not like I have been," Kendrick said. "But I'll get out of it. I'll get ahead next outing and try to get some early contact like I have in the past. The last two outings, I haven't done that."
The third inning could have been worse for Kendrick, just like the fifth should have been better for the Phillies. After Kratz's sacrifice fly gave the Phillies a one-run lead, Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins followed with singles to load the bases with one out. But Ben Revere grounded into his seventh double play of the season to kill the rally.
Michael Young and Revere have hit into a combined 18 double plays this season. The Phillies entered the night with 37, tied for 12th in baseball. The Mets had grounded into just 19, the fewest in the National League.
The Nationals took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. It started when Ryan Zimmerman scored on a one-out triple to center field from Adam LaRoche with LaRoche swinging at a 3-0 fastball. Revere, who threw out a runner at the plate in the fourth, ran deep to the wall to make a play, but turned and leaped in the opposite direction of the ball.
"It tipped my glove," Revere said. "Because I was playing a couple steps in, the ball kind of got ahead of me. I'm pretty sure I make that play next time. I thought because the wind was blowing to right, that ball kind of went backward."
LaRoche scored on Kurt Suzuki's two-out single to left. Then after Young could not handle a grounder hit his way to put Tyler Moore on base, Steve Lombardozzi ripped a double to right-center field to clear the bases and give the Nationals a three-run lead.
"He's another guy that I fell behind in the count, and I should have just walked him," Kendrick said. "I left a pitch down the middle and he put a good swing on it."
The Phillies had no hits after the fifth inning, making the rest of the night easy for the Nationals.
"Things don't go your way," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Ben hits into a double play. That's kind of the way it goes. We were right there with them until we went back out on the field there. They scored and went ahead of us. They shut us down from there. It was a good game up until that point."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.