Phillies beat Nats behind Helickson's solid pitching

 
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Philadelphia's Jeremy Hellickson allowed two hits over seven innings, his teammates eventually took advantage of Washington's sloppiness to push across some runs, and the Phillies beat Bryce Harper and the Nationals 3-0 on Wednesday night.
 
   Philadelphia, which entered the series below .500, will try to complete a three-game sweep of the NL East-leading Nationals on Thursday. 
 
   Unbothered by the temperature in the low 50s or intermittent drizzles, Hellickson (2-1) struck out eight and lowered his 2016 ERA from 5.21 to 3.81. He gave up NL batting leader Daniel Murphy's ground-rule double in the second inning and Danny Espinosa's 500th career hit on a bunt single in the fifth -- and that was it.
 
   All in all, much better than Hellickson's previous appearance against the Nationals, 12 days earlier in Philadelphia, when he gave up five earned runs in three innings during a 9-1 loss.
 
   Hellickson, the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year for the Tampa Bay Rays, struck out reigning NL MVP Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Murphy in the fourth inning Wednesday, then made it four consecutive Ks by getting Jayson Werth swinging to begin the fifth. 
 
   Harper went 0 for 2 and walked twice, raising his total to five free passes in the series. 
 
   Jeanmar Gomez pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
 
   Washington's Gio Gonzalez (1-1) breezed through the first three innings on 36 pitches, giving up one hit. But there were signs of trouble in the fourth, when a single, walk and wild pitch put runners at second and third before Gonzalez got out of the jam.
 
   In the sixth, Gonzalez again allowed a single, walk and wild pitch, and this time Darin Ruf's sacrifice fly to deep center drove in the game's first run. 
 
   The Phillies made it 2-0 an inning later with an unearned run, set up by two singles and a sac bunt that put runners at second and third with one out. Peter Bourjos then hit a chopper to third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was playing in and should have had a play at home. But Rendon's sidearm throw to catcher Jose Lobaton was way too high, earning an error and allowing Cesar Hernandez to score.
 
   After Gonzalez walked his final batter to load the bases, reliever Sammy Solis -- brought up from the minors before the game -- got Freddy Galvis to ground into an inning-ending double play.
 
   Solis served up Carlos Ruiz's third homer -- one more than the catcher hit in all of 2015 -- in the eighth.
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