Philadelphia is having a pretty good time down in the nation's capital this week (which is more than we can say of last week). After last night's exciting 4-3 win, the Phillies followed up with another exciting win against their 1st place rivals.
The game began with little incident, with both starting pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Gio Gonzalez navigated the first three innings with little incident beyond a hits by Maikel Franco and Daniel Murphy. Gonzalez proceeded to have a tricky 4th inning after getting two out.
He gave up a single to Darin Ruf and a walk to Carlos Ruiz, bringing Cesar Hernandez. Cesar worked a full count from him while the runners advanced on a wild pitch, but unfortunately the Phillies were unable to strike and the half inning ended with a fly ball to Bryce Harper. Speaking of Harper, he struck out in the very next at bat in the bottom of the inning. Hellickson struck him and Ryan Zimmerman out back to back for strikeouts 4 and 5 of the evening. They would not be his last.
The Phillies finally struck in the sixth inning. Odubel Herrera started off with the Phils’ third hit of the night. This is the 18th straight game that he’s reached base safely. Freddy Galvis bunted him over to second, and he advanced to third with the help of a wild pitch. Meanwhile, Franco walked to put runners on the corners, which brought Darin Ruf to the plate. Gonzalez was not looking good this inning. Franco's walk, plus multiple almost wild pitches prompted a coaching visit to the mound. It didn't help, because Ruf brought Odubel home on a sacrifice fly to center.
In the seventh, Cesar Hernandez reached base with a hit that shattered his bat into splinters and sent a good chunk of it flying towards the stands. Miraculously, the piece got stuck in the netting and continued to hang there for the rest of the inning. Do you see how pointy that thing is? Sure is great that MLB decided to expand protective netting, because last year that thing would have made trouble for the crowd.
Anyway, back to the game: Tyler Goeddel
singled to put two men on with no one out. Hellickson advanced the runners with a sac bunt, which was almost a single due to Zimmerman’s... interesting method fielding of the ball. Peter Bourjos
followed by reaching on a fielder's choice throwing error by Anthony Rendon
that scored Cesar. It was weird. Here, have a look for yourself
Herrera continues to walk like a machine, notching his 20th of the year to load the bases and boot Gonzalez from the game. Unfortunately, Sammy Solis was able to get out of the inning. The Nats' half of the inning was much quieter, as Murphy, Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa went down in order. Werth was Hellickson's 8th and final strikeout victim of the evening.
The rest of the game was cake for the Phillies. Chooch blasted a solo home run to left field to pad the lead at 3-0 in the 8th, Odubel walked AGAIN in the 9th and Hellickson (7th), Hector Neris
(8th) and Jeanmar Gomez
(9th) retired the final nine Nationals
The past two victories over Washington have been pretty cathartic, given recent events. They may still be sitting atop the NL East, but we took a series from them and will be looking for a sweep tomorrow.