Nats remain hot, Phillies fall two games behind Mets in NL East

WASHINGTON -- Meet the team on the longest current winning streak in baseball: the Washington Nationals.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run home run and the Nationals -- the team with the worst record in baseball -- won their seventh consecutive game Monday, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4.

Washington is on its best winning streak since a 10-game stretch in June 2005, and everyone on the team is contributing. Every Washington starter had at least one hit -- including starting pitcher Tim Redding.

"That's what we've been missing the whole season," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "Now guys are swinging the bats throughout the whole lineup, and it helps. Everyone around here becomes a little bit smarter with seven runs and 12 hits."

The Phillies dropped two games behind the Mets in the NL East. New York rallied to beat Milwaukee 4-2.

"It would've been nice to score runs early," second baseman Chase Utley said. "Obviously it didn't work out. We're not gonna let this one game get us down. We're gonna battle back like we always have. This month is obviously extremely important so we'll see what happens."

The Nationals' offense grabbed the lead quickly, on Lastings Milledge's two-run single in the first inning. They piled on a few more runs in the fourth, when Willie Harris hit an RBI triple, Cristian Guzman scored him with a double, and Zimmerman capped things off with a mammoth homer to center field.

"We're going through one of those good times now," Zimmerman said. "We've got to keep doing that for the rest of the month and it'll be a fun last three or four weeks."

As the Nationals' offense was clicking, Redding was struggling to control his fastball, although it was hard to tell from the scoreboard -- Redding (10-8) did not allow a hit in the first five innings.

The only two hits given up by Redding came in the sixth, before he was lifted for a reliever. Redding allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, walking three and hitting two batters.

There were certainly some flaws in those no-hit frames. In the first inning, Redding put runners on with a walk and a hit batter, then threw the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt before striking out Ryan Howard and getting Jayson Werth to pop up and end the inning.

By the time Shane Victorino beat out the throw on a grounder deep in the hole for the Phillies' first hit, Redding was already wearing down.

"I was beat after about the fourth inning," Redding said.

Victorino's single started a mini-meltdown for the Nationals.

With two out, Victorino stole second and advanced on an error by catcher Jesus Flores. Howard then doubled, sending Victorino home. Redding walked Jayson Werth and was relieved by Charlie Manning, after throwing 106 pitches.

He lacked command of his fastball early in the game, that's why he ran his pitch count," Acta said. "But still, he made pitches when he had to."

Redding's 10 wins ties his career high, and he is the first Washington pitcher to reach the mark since Ramon Ortiz did so in 2006.

Philadelphia didn't need any more hits -- Manning walked two to load the bases, and reliever Marco Estrada came on. Estrada didn't do much better. He walked pinch-hitter Pat Burrell to drive in one run, then hit Chris Coste to send home another. Estrada finally got out of the inning, striking out pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz.

The Nationals' bullpen shut down Philadelphia the rest of the way, allowing just two more hits. One of those was a solo home run by Jimmy Rollins in the ninth inning, his 10th of the year.

"You don't have to have the most talented team, but if you stay after it, somewhere along the line you'll get into a streak and things start going your way," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Right now, you have to take your hats off to them because they haven't quit."

Kyle Kendrick (11-8) got the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits in four innings.

Both teams had control issues, especially early in the game. Redding hit Utley in the first inning and Victorino in the third. Elijah Dukes was hit by Kendrick in the first and Happ in the fourth. When Kendrick threw a ball up-and-in to Zimmerman in the third inning, home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman warned both dugouts.

Game notes
With rosters expanding Monday, the Phillies recalled RHP Adam Eaton and LHP J.A. Happ from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and purchased the contracts of OF Greg Golson and C Lou Marson from Double-A Reading ... The Nationals recalled OF Roger Bernadina and 1B/OF Kory Casto and selected the contracts of LHP Mike Hinckley, RHP Shairon Martis and RHP Levale Speigner from Triple-A Columbus. Washington also activated SS Alberto Gonzalez from the 15-day DL (left hamstring strain) and transferred OF Wily Mo Pena to the 60-day DL (left shoulder surgery). ... Nationals 1B Dmitri Young, on the DL since July 12 (diabetes) started a rehab assignment with Short-Season Single-A Vermont.