Final Score: Phillies 12, Nationals 3
In a must-win game, the Phillies came to play.
Bryce Harper notched his 12th and 13th home runs of the season. It was his second multi-home run game of 2020. Didi Gregorius and Andrew Knapp both hit three-run home runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
To say Zach Eflin stepped up Wednesday night is an understatement. He threw eight fantastic innings and allowed only three runs in the most important outing of his career.
The Phillies are now 26-27. Their division record is now locked in at 21-19, which is important to keep in mind because that is the first tiebreaker among teams fighting for the two wild-card spots in the National League. If the Marlins lose to the Braves, they would be 0.5 out of second place in the NL East.
They’ll travel to Tampa and face one of the best teams in the league in the Tampa Bay Rays to end the season. They’ll spend their off-day tomorrow scoreboard watching in their Florida hotels.
- Harper, who is dealing with a bad back, crushed a 425-foot solo home run in this first inning to the opposite field. That swing ended an 0-for-14 cold streak.
- Former LSU Tiger Andrew Stevenson knocked his fifth extra-base hit of the series in the first. With Josh Harrison up to bat, Stevenson tagged on a fly ball to right field. He was tagged out at third on an excellent throw from Jay Bruce for the second out.
- The Phillies added another run in the third. With the bases loaded, J.T. Realmuto grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored a run. Brock Holt threw to Harrison, who couldn’t get a throw off to first for the double play.
- From the end of the first to the fifth, Eflin retired 11 consecutive batters. The Nationals broke that streak when Yan Gomes doubled with one out. A wild pitch advanced Gomes to third and he scored on an RBI groundout from Luis García.
- Harper jumped on a first-pitch curveball from Fedde and belted it to left-center field for his second solo home run of the game.
- The Nats threatened to score in the bottom of the seventh. With Juan Soto at second and Gomes at first with two outs, Garcia struck out on a beautiful two-seamer from Eflin that ran off the plate.
- McCutchen led off the eighth with a no-doubt home run to the Brew House. His ninth home run of the season gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead.
- Jean Segura came up big with a two-run single that scored Alec Bohm from third and Harper from second. The Phillies ended up sending nine men to the plate in the seventh and scored three runs in the process.
- Gregorius pulled a scorcher to right field for a three-run home run that gave the Phillies a 9-1 lead.
- Knapp, who is the best backup catcher in baseball, drove in three with a home run to center field. As a result, Nationals manager Dave Martinez pulled Ryne Harper and gave the ball to the third baseman Holt.
- Soto ended Eflin’s nearly flawless outing with an opposite-field shot that cut the Phillies’ lead to nine.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Zach Eflin: 8 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 pitches
It’s safe to say 2020 was Eflin’s breakout season. His sinker is crisp, his fastball has some giddy to it and his curveball has become his not-so-secret weapon. He did a good job getting ahead of hitters and kept his pitch count down enough so that the can throw eight innings and give a few guys in the bullpen an off day. If the Phillies make the playoffs, Eflin will most likely start game one.
Erick Fedde: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 103 pitches
Fedde surrendered a combined 10 earned runs in his previous two outings against the Phillies this season. This is an improvement, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the ever so desperate Phillies offense.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Bryce Harper
John Kruk had an interesting observation in the seventh inning. Harper ended the game 2-for-2 with three intentional walks. To him, that stat line reminded him of a certain legendary slugger: Barry Bonds.
Harper has looked nothing like Bonds in the second-half of 2020 but nonetheless, the Phillies needed him to be the game-changing hitter they paid him to be and he stepped up big time against his former team Wednesday night.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday, September 23 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays at 6:40 pm
- Tropicana Field
- NBC Sports Philadelphia; MLB Network (out of market only)
- Sportsradio 94 WIP
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