The Phillies earned a series win in the our nation’s capital Wednesday night by beating the Nationals 3-0. In the process, they pushed their record to one game over .500.
At 11-10 on the season, the Phillies are above .500 for the first time since April 11 of 2015, where they, coincidentally, beat the Nationals in 10 innings to improve to 3-2.
After giving up nine earned runs in his previous 7.1 innings-pitched , Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven shutout innings, struck out eight and surrendered just two hits against one of the league’s top teams. The 29-year-old expertly mixed command and changing velocities to keep the Nationals’ hitters off balance, particularly Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, who combined to finish 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.
Nationals starter and Phillies killer Gio Gonzalez matched Hellickson pitch for pitch through five innings. But the Phillies’ offense struck first in the top of the sixth when Darin Ruf hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Odubel Herrera to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
The Phillies would score their second run of the game in the seventh on a Peter Bourjos bouncer to Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, but an errant throw would help allow Cesar Hernandez to slide in safely at the plate. Herrera would walk (again) to load the bases for Freddy Galvis, but Nationals reliever Sammy Solis would induce an inning-ending double play.
The offense would tack on another run in the eighth on a solo shot by Carlos Ruiz, who has already exceeded his home run total from 2015 with three so far in 2016.
In relief of Hellickson, Hector Neris pitched a perfect eighth to lower his season ERA to a minuscule 0.69 mark, and Jeanmar Gomez induced a 1-2-3 ninth to secure a Phillies win and his sixth save of the season.
Post game stats: With his two walks tonight, Herrera is second behind Paul Goldschmidt with 22 walks on the season. He also raised his season OBP to an amazing .451 mark.
On deck: The Phillies and Nationals will conclude their three game series with a Thursday afternoon contest. Aaron Nola will attempt to lead the Phillies to a series sweep against Nationals starter Tanner Roark. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m..