By: Matt Rappa, managing editor
Final: Nationals 9, Phillies 1 ❖ Attendance: 22,624
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies (5-6) were on the brink of being shutout for the first time of the 2016 season as they faced right-hander Joe Ross and the division-leading Washington Nationals (8-1) Friday evening at Citizens Bank Park.
Trailing by nine runs heading into the bottom of the ninth — with just three hits combined entering the inning by Phillies batters — first baseman Ryan Howard came through with his fourth home run of the season. With it being his 361st career blast, Howard pulled into 81st place on Major League Baseball's home run list, tying New York Yankees Hall of Fame outfielder Joe DiMaggio.
WP: Joe Ross (2-0, 0.61 ERA) ❖ LP: Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 4.30 ERA)
Hub: Game Summary ❖ Starting Pitchers ❖ At the Plate ❖ Bullpen ❖ What's Next
The Phillies' trailed from the onset of the contest, as center fielder Michael Taylor hit a leadoff home run to left field — his first since Sept. 4 of last season when he hit a pinch-hit, three-run walkoff against the Atlanta Braves in extra innings.
Following a lineout to third baseman Maikel Franco, three consecutive Nationals' batters would reach base. Former Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth — who started in left tonight — came through with a bases-clearing RBI-double, which concurrently doubled his season RBI total to six.
Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer entered in relief of Hellickson, who lasted just three innings tonight. Only once in 27 starts last season with the Diamondbacks did Hellickson not last more than three innings.
Shortstop Danny Espinosa had a RBI-single in both the top of the first and fifth innings, the latter extending the Nationals' lead to 7-0. With a runner on an inning later in the sixth, right fielder Bryce Harper hit a towering shot to right field, his fourth of the season, to give Washington a nine-run advantage.
Excluding Howard's ninth-inning home run, the Phillies' other three hits Friday evening were singles by the following: center fielder Odubel Herrera (first inning), left fielder Cedric Hunter (fourth) and shortstop Freddy Galvis (eighth).
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At the Plate