Myers solid vs. Nationals in opener as Ibanez goes deep twice

WASHINGTON -- Opening a doubleheader following a 12-inning game the night before, the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals both needed some solid starting pitching.

The Phillies got it. The Nationals didn't come close.

Brett Myers cranked out seven innings, Raul Ibanez hit a pair of home runs, and the Phillies again battered the National League's worst pitching staff Saturday in an 8-5 victory in the opener of the day-night doubleheader.

Philadelphia also got a good inning from closer Brad Lidge, while things got worse for the Nationals: Starter Scott Olsen left after the game to have an MRI exam on his throwing shoulder.

Myers (3-2) matched his longest outing of season while striking out a season-high eight batters and allowing a season-low three hits. It was just the tonic for a team that used seven pitchers, including a projected Saturday starter, in Friday's 10-6 extra-inning win.

"We needed somebody to step up and eat up some innings," Ibanez said. "Not only did he do that, but he turned in a brilliant performance."

Ibanez finished with three hits, three runs and four RBIs. He hit a solo home run to center in the first and a three-run shot off the facade above right-center in the third, his 12th homer of the season. He is 17 for 30 with five homers and 13 RBIs against the Nationals this season.

How hot is he? Manager Charlie Manuel doesn't want to answer questions about his outfielder -- for fear of jinxing him.

"Don't need to talk about him," Manuel said. "Leave him alone."

Manuel was more than happy to talk about Lidge, who had allowed at least one run in six straight appearances. The closer who was so invincible last season blew a save opportunity Friday night, so his work Saturday afternoon -- one inning, one hit allowed -- was worth more than just his sixth save of the season.

"That's how I've always managed -- I get him out there as soon as I can," Manuel said. "I think sometimes if you show people you've got confidence in them, that definitely helps them."

After using eight pitchers Friday night, Nationals manager Manny Acta was asked early Saturday what he expected from Olsen. He replied, "Eight innings."

Instead, Olsen (1-4) was gone after five and 94 pitches, having allowed nine hits, six runs (five earned). He gave up three homers, including two on fastballs that clocked only 85 miles per hour. Afterward, the left-hander complained of tightness in his shoulder and underwent a precautionary MRI exam.

"He did something that probably wouldn't help him -- he was thinking about his teammates," Acta said. "He wanted to go out there and give us as many innings as he could."

By the fourth inning, the biggest drama was whether center fielder Shane Victorino -- acting on a pregame clubhouse dare -- could hit the water cooler in the Philadelphia bullpen with his final warmup toss when the Phillies took the field between innings. He came close a few times, but at least he would have more chances during the nightcap.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer for Washington, extending his streak to 33 straight games in which he has reached base safely.

Game notes
Because J.A. Happ, the expected starter for Saturday's nightcap, pitched in relief Friday night, the Phillies called up Andrew Carpenter from Triple-A to start the second game. ... The Phillies' 10-4 road record is the best in the majors. ... Nationals CF Elijah Dukes, who strained his left hamstring in Friday's game, struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth. .. Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley, in an 0 for 18 slump, sat out the first game. ... Phillies 1B Ryan Howard, with the infield shifted, hit into an unusual 4-5-3 double play in the seventh. ... The first game was a makeup for an April 15 rainout.