Harper swipes home in loss

WASHINGTON – Other than an audacious steal of home, Cole Hamels had no problem shutting down the Washington Nationals.

The left-hander gave up five hits over eight innings in Philadelphia’s 9-3 victory Sunday.

Hunter Pence hit a pair of two-run homers to help the Phillies snap a seven-game losing streak against Washington dating to last year and avoid a sweep in the three-game series.

Washington rookie Bryce Harper stole home in the first inning after being hit in the back by Hamels (4-1).

“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it,” Hamels said. “That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it.”

Harper quickly shrugged off the sting, going from first to third on Jayson Werth’s single to left. When Hamels made a pickoff throw to first, Harper broke for home and slid in under the tag.

It was Harper’s first career stolen base.

“It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues,’ ” Hamels said. “And I think he kind of did that for me.”

After the game, Harper didn’t answer directly when asked if he thought Hamels was trying to hit him.

Of more concern to Washington is Werth, who broke his left wrist while attempting a sliding catch in the sixth inning.

“It’s a clean break,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s going to be out for a while.”

Hamels cruised after Harper’s run. He didn’t allow more than one base runner in an inning after the first and struck out eight against one walk.

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