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Hall of a game: Phillies 5, Nationals 3

A needed win before a tough road trip

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

There is a road trip about to happen for the Phillies that is going to be much talked about for a while. The team heads north of the border to Toronto next week and for players to participate, they need...

...well, you already know that story.

It’s going to be a controversial week and the last thing the team needs is bad vibes headed out onto that trip that includes four very big games in St. Louis. So, beating a pitcher who was coming into today’s game with 11 losses on the heels of a disappointing loss last night made it feel like a must win. They needed to take this series.

To say it didn’t start off well would be an understatement. Bailey Falter got the start and promptly fell behind when he allowed a single to Juan Soto, a walk to Josh Bell and hit Nelson Cruz with a pitch to load the bases, then a single to Maikel Franco made it 1-0. The second inning wasn’t much better when Cesar Hernandez doubled with two out and was singled home by Soto to make the score 2-0. Falter was also throwing a ton of pitches, making the game seem to move much slower than it was.

It wasn’t fun watching the first two innings.

Facing Joan Adon, he of the eleven losses, the Phillies’ lineup was beginning to look feeble yet again, but came alive in the third. Rhys Hoskins walked with one out, then went to second on a single by Nick Castellanos. Up stepped Darick Hall who took a 1-1 sinker and drilled it center field, missing a home run by mere feet, settling for a double and men on second and third.

J.T. Realmuto hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at two, bringing up Didi Gregorius. Gregorius has not homered this year, but on this at bat, he came awfully close.

Of course, being helped by Herrera-esque defense by Juan Soto helps things, but when the dust settled, Gregorius was on third and the Phillies had the lead.

The fourth inning for the Phillies began with a double by Matt Vierling, a single by Mickey Moniak and Kyle Schwarber at the plate. There has been a lot of talk about moving Schwarber out of the top spot in the lineup to better utilize his current power stroke with men on base, but here he had that opportunity. Instead of putting one into the outer reaches of Citizens Bank Park, he instead tapped an RBI groundout to second for the Phillies’ fourth run of the game.

As all of this lead taking was happening, Falter settled in and did an admirable job. Though he was only able to go four innings, he battled enough to maintain the Phillies’ lead while he was in and gave his team a chance to stay close. The bullpen committee of Nick Nelson, Jose Alvarado, Brad Hand and Seranthony Dominguez would combine to allow a lone run in the eighth, but otherwise handled the Nationals’ lineup with relative ease, striking out six and only allowing three baserunners over five innings. It continued a run of excellence by the bullpen that few would predicted, but many have enjoyed.

Of course, no Phillies game is complete without a home run of some kind and today, it was Hall again, bashing his fourth of the season and tacking on an insurance run in the seventh that would prove to be quite helpful when all was said and done.

The Cardinals await in St. Louis as they and the Phillies stare each other down yet again for playoff positioning in the middle of this season. They’ll begin tomorrow night.