Brad Miller’s two home runs were not enough as Aaron Nola struggled again and the Philadelphia Phillies fell to the Washington Nationals, 6-5.
The Phillies, who were eliminated from the postseason contention in the first game of their day-night double-header Tuesday, fall to 79-78 and have dropped four straight games. They have also lost seven straight Nola starts in a brutal stretch since shifting his schedule to pitch every fifth day.
The Phillies got things started in a hurry. After Logan Morrison walked and Jean Segura reached on an infield single in the top of the first inning, Brad Miller crushed a home run to center field to give the Phillies an early 3-0 lead over three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer:
This is Miller’s 3rd home run in his last 12 plate appearances. pic.twitter.com/qbn9HStPDP
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) September 24, 2019
After cruising through the first two innings, Nola allowed a solo home run to Nationals catcher Yan Gomes in the third to trim the lead to 3-1. The Nats then quickly got runners on first and second with one out in the inning, but Nola escaped with no further damage.
In the top of the fourth, Miller hit his second home run of the game to extend the lead to 4-1. It was his second multi-home run game in four days, as he hit two against the Indians last Saturday.
The Nationals bases the loaded with no outs in the bottom of the inning on base hits from Asdrubel Cabrera and Matt Adams, which were followed by a Victor Robles hit by pitch. The Nationals got one run back on a sacrifice fly from Gomes, but were unable to score further as Nola escaped the jam with the Phillies still leading 4-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Nationals got men on first and second with one out and Nola’s pitch count already over 100. After he struck out Gomes to get the second out, Nola threw a borderline 3-2 pitch to Howie Kendrick that was called a ball and loaded the bases for Trea Turner. At 115 pitches, he was removed from the game, and Turner crushed a grand slam off of relief pitcher Jared Hughes to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead.
The Phillies got one back in the top of the seventh. Bryce Harper, who wasn’t in the lineup to start the game, crushed a solo home run against Hunter Strickland. Harper and Strickland infamously got into a brawl in 2017 when Strickland hit him with a pitch, but Harper got the last laugh tonight with his moonshot:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 25, 2019
Cole Irvin and Hector Neris shut the Nationals bats down in the seventh and eighth inning, but the Phillies were unable to get anything else going against the Nationals bullpen in the eighth and ninth and dropped this one, 6-5.
The Phillies are now only one game over .500. They have to go 3-2 over their final five games to finish with a winning record, something that seemed like a given just a week ago. This has certainly been a grueling finish for Gabe Kapler’s club, and we will find out soon who has to answer for it.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- This may have been the last start of 2019 for Aaron Nola. The Phillies were officially eliminated from the playoffs earlier today, and there is no reason for him to pitch again this weekend against the Miami Marlins in a meaningless game. Nola wasn’t great tonight, but was a close ball/strike call from pitching six solid innings. His line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
- The Phillies typically aren’t able to get to Scherzer much, but two Brad Miller home runs gave them four runs against the Nationals ace. Scherzer still pitched six good innings and ultimately earned the win following the Nats four run sixth. His line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Brad Miller
Many fans were wondering why a player like Miller would be hitting leadoff against an ace of Max Scherzer’s caliber. He showed why, hitting two home runs in his first two at-bats against Scherzer and providing the Phillies four of their five runs. It was his second two-home run game in five days, and he is making a good case to be a free-agent target for someone this offseason as a power bat off the bench.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Wednesday Sept. 25
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- Nationals Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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