It's the little things that matter most, sometimes. Aaron Harang, himself not at all a little thing, continued his "fine" pitching with another Quality Start limiting the Nats nominally impressive lineup to three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks through six innings. He struck out six, including Michael Taylor three times.
Meanwhile, the Phils matched the Nats blow for blow. Taylor scored in the bottom of the first on a groundout; but in the top of the third, the Phils plated two, with RBIs from Freddy Galvis and Chase Utley, scoring Harang (who reached on a reviewed Ian Desmond error, his eighth of the year) and Odubel Herrera, respectively. Jose Lobaton scored Dan Uggla in the bottom of the fourth, tying the game again at 2-2.
In the top of the fifth, then, after Herrera drew a walk and stole second, Galvis again singled him home for a 3-2 lead. Bryce Harper immediately responded with an absolute moonshot of a homerun in the bottom of the fifth.
Wow. He's got his detractors, some deserved and some not, but there's no denying that the kid can hit. Wow.
Jordan Zimmermann has faced Ryan Howard 22 times before today, and only once walked him. So, of course, in the seventh, with the score still 3-3, Howard lead off with a walk. Ben Revere pinch-ran for Howard, and immediately started doing Ben Revere things, with a steal of second. Grady Sizemore, pinch-hitting for Harang, grounded to first in what should have been a fielder's choice, but reached safely; with Revere coming all the way around to score. On a ball that didn't leave the infield. 4-3.
Luis Garcia and Ken Giles pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Garcia got into a spot of trouble after a two out hit, but intentionally walked Harper and got Ryan Zimmerman to ground out to Utley. Giles, throwing 95 mph fastballs, gave up only a single to Espinosa.
In the top of the ninth, Revere led off with a double. After Cameron Rupp and Cesar Hernandez both grounded out, Revere had moved over to third, bringing up Herrera, who poked one up the middle for his third hit of the day, scoring Revere for an insurance run. Herrera immediately stole second.
During that play, however, Nat's catcher Lobaton completely whiffed on a 96 mph heater from reliever Blake Treinen, and the ball struck Home Plate umpire Brian Knight directly in the facemask. Knight appeared to be okay, walking off the field on his own, but was removed from the game, with crew chief Larry Vanover moving behind the plate. We wish Knight the best and hope he is able to return to action soon.
Play resumed after a several minute delay, but not for long, as Galvis grounded out on the first pitch.
In the ninth, with a lead to protect once again, Jonathan Papelbon picked a perfect inning for his third save of the year. If he keeps this rate up, and isn't traded, he'll finish the year having saved 75% of the team's wins. That's a Carltonian level of performance, though with an admittedly lesser statistic.
With the win, the Phillies improve to 4-8 on the season, dropping the Nationals to 5-7. The
rubber match meaningless fourth game of this three-game four-game (h/t to GBFan) series is tomorrow at 1:35; as the Phils will be counting on David 'The Dawkins of Pitching' Buchanan against the Nats' Stephen Strasburg. Should be delightful.