It seemed like the Phillies were in for a tense, low-scoring game. Then the bats finally woke up, and it seemed like they were going to coast to victory. And just as quickly, things became tense again. In the end, despite the absence of their usual setup-man and closer, the Phillies were able to successfully hold on for a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals (and their right fielder was able to successfully pay tribute to the Washington DC fans).
The game started off well with Jean Segura putting the Phillies on the board before most fans had even found their seats.
That wasn’t a harbinger of how the early innings were going to go. Nationals starter Patrick Corbin quickly found a groove, and the Phillies spent the next few innings not getting many runners on base.
Fortunately, Zack Wheeler was in even more of a groove. The Nationals didn’t get their first hit until the fifth, and he held them scoreless until the seventh. It was starting to look like Wheeler was going to pitch them to a 1-0 victory, but thankfully, the offense eventually realized that Corbin isn’t good anymore, and provided some run support.
In the top of the seventh, J.T. Realmuto homered to center field, and two batters later, Ronald Torreyes added a two-run shot.
A four-run lead with a dominant Wheeler on the mound should have ended any sense of drama. But the Nats cut the lead in half when they dinked and dunked their way to a couple of runs in the seventh.
The Phillies aren’t always great at producing insurance runs, but Bryce Harper padded the run total with a solo shot punctuated with a kiss to his former hometown fans.
That proved crucial when Wheeler made his only real mistake of the night in serving up a two-run home run to Josh Bell.
Josh Bell entered tonight's game slugging .510 since the start of May.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 4, 2021
His 18th HR of the year was absolutely DEMOLISHED into the 2nd deck in right-center.@JBell_19 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/SiYh6xomXt
All of a sudden, Wheeler was out of the game, and with both Archie Bradley and Ian Kennedy unavailable, the prospect of protecting a one-run lead felt daunting. But Hector Neris recorded the final two outs of the eighth, and Jose Alvarado had enough command to pitch a clean ninth for the save.
It was a good win by the Phillies, who closed to 1.5 games of the division lead. It was a good night for Harper, Torreyes, Neris, Alvarado, and several others. But the real star of the night was The Good Phight’s own Leo Morgenstern who received a shoutout on the broadcast: