Final: Washington Nationals 5, Philadelphia Phillies 4 ❖ Attendance: 21,083
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Tonight's game between the Washington Nationals (67-66) and the Philadelphia Phillies (70-62) was a rematch between staff aces and National League Cy Young award candidates Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Aaron Nola of the Phillies. The pair faced off last Thursday in Washington, with Nola and the Phillies coming out on top. For much of tonight's game, it looked like the outcome would be the same. However, due to some key errors late in the game and a bad ninth inning by the Phillies bullpen, the Nationals came out on top.
Nola was once again excellent for the Phillies. Over seven innings, the righty allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits. He walked two batters and struck out eight. Nola looked very much in command of all his pitches and of the game itself. Though Tommy Hunter was quite good in the eighth and finally looked like he would be the stable veteran presence in the 'pen that the Phillies were looking for when they signed him this past offseason, the batter he walked to lead off the ninth inning ended up tying the game. Pat Neshek struggled the most in the ninth. He allowed a critical two-run homer, in addition to another baserunner that later ended up scoring. Hector Neris got the final two outs of the inning, although Neshek's second runner did score on an error while Neris was on the mound. The Phillies now have a whopping 102 errors on the season, which ties them with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most in baseball.
There were some bright spots on the offensive front. Odubel Herrera once again homered off of Scherzer. Herrera now has 14 hits against the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and his two homers this month are both against the Nats' ace. Jorge Alfaro also homered in the ballgame. Scott Kingery picked up two hits and scored a run. Nick Williams and Wilson Ramos both doubled.
WP: Koda Glover (1-2, 5.68 ERA) ❖ LP: Pat Neshek (1-1, 1.56 ERA) ❖ SV: Greg Holland (1)
In this battle of aces, the Phillies struck first. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Odubel Herrera homered off of Max Scherzer to right center field. This was Herrera's second homer off of Scherzer in the last week and his 21st of the season. The next two batters were retired on a flyout and strikeout, respectively, to end the frame.
The Phillies added on in the fifth inning. Scott Kingery got it started with a single to the catcher. Jorge Alfaro followed with a two-run homer to dead center field to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The next three batters were retired in order and the Phillies weren't able to score any more runs in the inning.
The Nationals got a few back in the top of the seventh. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with his second single of the day. One out later, Ryan Zimmerman hit his second double of the day to put runners on second and third with one out. Matt Wieters grounded out to first base. However, Carlos Santana attempted to get Rendon at home and ended up throwing the ball over Alfaro, allowing Rendon to score. Because no one was covering the plate in time, Zimmerman also scored on the throwing error. Nola was able to retire Wilmer Difo on a flyout to end the inning, but two runs, one earned and one unearned, were added to his line.
The Nationals took the lead in the ninth inning. Tommy Hunter remained in the game after relieving Nola in the eighth. He walked Bryce Harper to lead off the inning. The Phillies then opted to make another pitching change, replacing Hunter with Pat Neshek. That ended up being a decision that would haunt the Phils. Neshek promptly allowed a two-run homer to Rendon that gave the Nationals a 4-3 lead. One out later, Zimmerman hit his third double of the game. The Phillies replaced Neshek with Hector Neris on the mound. During the at-bat of Wieters, Zimmerman stole third base. While a good throw could have gotten him at third, Alfaro's throw was anything but good. The ball sailed into left field and Zimmerman was able to score. Wieters ended up striking out and Difo popped out to second, but the damage was done. The Nationals had the lead and the Phillies would have to make a comeback in the bottom of the ninth if they wanted to win the ballgame.
The Phillies fought back in their half of the ninth inning. With one out, Nick Williams doubled to left field. Wilson Ramos entered the game as a pinch-hitter to bat for Kingery. He doubled to right field, scoring Williams to make it a 5-4 game. Because the Phils only had one player left on their bench, starting pitcher Vince Velasquez came in to pinch-run for Ramos. Alfaro flied out to center and Velasquez attempted to tag up on the play and move up to third. However, the Nationals thought that Velasquez left early and threw to second. The umpire called him out for a game-ending double play. After the Phillies challenged the call and the umpires reviewed it, the call was upheld and the game was over. The Phils' rally fell short and they lost the game.
- Anthony Rendon: 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, .299 AVG
- Ryan Zimmerman: 3-4, 2 R, 3 2B, .265 AVG
- Matt Wieters: 0-4, RBI, .235 AVG
- Odubel Herrera: 1-4, R, HR, RBI, .268 AVG
- Jorge Alfaro: 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, .252 AVG
- Scott Kingery: 2-3, R, .233 AVG
- Matt Grace (6th, 7th): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR, 2.90 ERA
- Jimmy Cordero (7th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 3.00 ERA
- Koda Glover (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 5.68 ERA
- Justin Miller (9th): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 3.89 ERA
- Greg Holland (9th): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 5.97 ERA
- Tommy Hunter (8th, 9th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 3.93 ERA
- Pat Neshek (9th): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 1.56 ERA
- Hector Neris (9th): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 5.54 ERA
- Wednesday, August 29, 2018: vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
- Philadelphia - Citizens Bank Park
- LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-11, 4.35 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (9-9, 3.37 ERA)
- TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680