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Chasing first place: Phillies 9, Nationals 5

Phils pick up series win and their fourth straight victory

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

On the same day Cole Hamels signed a deal with the Dodgers, the Phillies trade for Pirates’ left-hander Tyler Anderson falling through and their failure to sign a second starter at the deadline came back to bite them (who would have guessed that would happen?)

The team instead decided to once again try Chase Anderson, who had found some success in the bullpen since returning from the COVID-related IL, as a starter.

In his first start since May 16, Anderson’s first pitch of the game was a solo home run off the bat of Victor Robles (sadly, there was no praying mantis on his head this time.)

Welcome back to the rotation, Chase!!!

Anderson then gave up back-to-back solo shots to Luis García and Carter Kieboom in the bottom half of the second. 3-0, Nats.

Things were looking pretty bleak, but then the Phillies shockingly responded the following inning. Andrew Knapp, with newly acquired dad strength, got things cooking with a leadoff double. Anderson sac bunted him over to third, and Travis Jankowski hit an RBI double to plate Knapp.

Jean Segura, who’s been superb all season, doubled to drive home Jankowski. Bryce Harper also remained scorching hot when he hit an RBI single to left to bring home Segura.

Next up for the lead was Rhys Hoskins, who didn’t disappoint when he hit his 28th double of the season to bring home Harper to take the 4-3 lead in the third. Some (just me) are calling him Rhys the 2B machine.

I’m not even joking when I say this was probably the most urgency I’ve seen from this lineup all season. One of the most common themes with recent Phillies teams is that when they’re down early, the bats are silent for most of or the rest of the game.

Luckily, this time was different. They promptly took the lead...and better yet, they even capitalized on that lead! Unheard of!

The three solo shots would be the only hits and runs Anderson would allow in four innings. J.D. Hammer entered the game with a three-run lead, thanks to Hoskins who hit a two-run 434 ft. shot in the fifth, his 24th of the season.

Hammer only faced four batters in 0.2 innings before being replaced by Matt Moore with two runners on. Moore escaped the fifth without allowing a run, which is always something to celebrate.

In the seventh, Didi Gregorius proved he was alive when he hit a two-run 412 ft. blast to right field. This came after Hoskins nearly got drilled in the head for what seems like the millionth time. Hoskins and Nats pitcher Jefry Rodriguez then seemed to exchange some words on the diamond.

But the Phils didn’t stop scoring there. In the eighth, Jankowski reached base on a throwing error, followed by a Segura single. There were two men on with two outs and Harper coming to the plate. Bryce continued to dazzle after doubling to score Jankowski to make it 9-4, Phils. This man is truly on another planet right now. Get him in MVP conversations immediately.

Through four innings, the only runs Moore allowed came in the seventh, another homer to García, and a Kieboom RBI single in the ninth.

Moore had the chance to finish out the game, but Joe Girardi elected to lift him with two outs in the ninth for newly acquired “closer” Ian Kennedy. This was yet another head-scratching decision by Girardi, but luckily, no damage was done by Kennedy and he was able to get the final out to secure the W.

Moore picked up his first major league win since 2018, the Phils actually won a road series, and are two games over .500. Unfortunately with the Mets winning against the Marlins tonight, they didn’t gain any ground in the standings, but they also didn’t lose any either.

The Phils look to break out the brooms with Nola on the mound (and for a Mets loss) tomorrow.