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King of Hill: Nats pitcher shuts down Phillies

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Shawn Hill couldn't get a grip on his
curveball, had to rely almost exclusively on his sinker and cringed
with embarrassment when he threw a wild pitch to the backstop
netting.

Yet the right-hander had enough to handcuff the Philadelphia
Phillies for seven innings en route to his first victory in almost
two years.

Hill allowed two hits, Jose Guillen had a two-run double and the
Washington Nationals beat the Phillies 6-0 Sunday.

"It was a very good outing today -- all except his pitch count,
which was up high and early. ... It was just what we needed
today," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.

Hill (1-1) walked three and struck out four in winning for the
first time since July 4, 2004, with Montreal, his only previous
major league victory. The right-hander didn't pitch in 2005 after
undergoing ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery in
September 2004.

"Coming off the rehab, I had to go through some hurdles
there," said Hill. "You learn to calm yourself down, compose
yourself to get through one hitter at a time instead of jumping
ahead."

The only Phillies hitter to have success against Hill was Ryan
Howard, who singled to left in the second and doubled to right in
the fourth. Howard went to third when Hill, attempting a curve,
threw a one-out wild pitch to the backstop in the fourth, but was
stranded.

"The balls that were coming out were really chalky," Hill
said. "I don't know whether it was how they were rubbed up or not,
but I had to rub them up a quite a bit. The curveball was slipping
out all the time."

Guillen, activated off the 15-day disabled list the previous
day, went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI on Sunday in his
first start since May 25.

"The first one was a real confidence-builder, the first time up
today," Robinson said of Guillen. "To get the big hit there and
get us started in the third inning was a big confidence-builder.
... To get a lead early was a good feeling," Robinson said.

Bill Bray pitched the eighth and Saul Rivera worked the ninth to
complete the combined three-hitter for Washington's second shutout
of the year, and the first this season against Philadelphia. The
Phillies finished an 11-game road trip 6-5.

"In order to be a contending team, we've got to play better and
I think our players know that," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel
said. "I don't know if it takes improvement or our just playing
consistent and getting the most out of our talent or what."

After taking three of four against the Phillies, the Nationals
have won six of seven series.

"We're all here to help each other out," said Washington's
Robert Fick, who hit his first homer of the season. "I think we're
coming together as a ballclub."

The Nationals, winners of nine of 11, scored all four runs off
Cole Hamels (1-1) with two outs. He allowed six hits in five
innings, walked two and struck out a season-high eight.

Washington went up 3-0 in the second. With two outs, Alfonso
Soriano walked and stole second, Royce Clayton walked and both
scored on Guillen's double down the left-field line.

Nick Johnson followed with an RBI double that left fielder Pat
Burrell broke in for and couldn't recover before the catchable ball
sailed over his head.

The Nationals struck again with two down in the fourth. Brendan
Harris led off with a double and moved to third on Robert Fick's
single. After Hamels struck out two hitters, Soriano lined a
run-scoring single to left.

Fick and pinch-hitter Daryle Ward hit solo homers off reliever
Clay Condrey in the eighth.

Game notes
The Phillies went 10-10 in a stretch of 20 games in 20
days. ... Howard has reached base safely in 53 of 62 games. ...
Before singling in the fourth, Soriano was on an 0-for-10 skid. ...
Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu extended his hitting streak to 11 games
with an eighth-inning single. ... Ward hit his third pinch home run
of the season, and eighth of his career.