Final Score: Phillies 5, Nationals 2 (10 innings)
25 outs into Wednesday evening’s Philadelphia Phillies-Washington Nationals game, it appeared that the story was going to be a strange night for the duo of Bryce Harper and Odúbel Herrera costing the team a victory.
In fact, that was the story. It was written up, edited and just waiting for the publish button to be hit. Instead, the two redeemed themselves, helping the Phillies to clinch their first three-game road series victory since September of 2019.
In the top of the fifth inning, Harper singled into left field with two outs, and third base coach Dusty Wathan sent Herrera home from second base looking to extend the Phillies 1-0 lead. Instead, Herrera was thrown out by Kyle Schwarber. It wasn’t necessarily anyone’s fault – Schwarber is a DH playing in the outfield because he’s in the National League – but it perhaps served as a precursor of what was to come.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Nationals already having tied a game, Alex Avila hit a ball between Harper and Herrera. While it probably should have been Harper’s ball, the two miscommunicated and collided once the ball hit the ground, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
For a while, that appeared as though it would be the winning run. Herrera had other ideas, though, as he smoked a ball into the right-center field bleachers with one out in the ninth, extending the game. Harper would deliver a key hit in the top of the 10th, with the Phillies ultimately scoring three runs en route to an extra-inning victory.
The Phillies will have a quick turnaround, as they as they will wrap up their three-game series with the Nationals tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. They’ll send Zach Eflin – who has been one of baseball’s best starters in 2021 – to the hill as they attempt to sweep out their division rivals.
- With J.T. Realmuto not in the starting lineup, Andrew Knapp got the start at catcher. Knapp came up in the second inning to face Jon Lester, with runners on first and second and one out. A night after bringing home two with a single, Knapp drove in Rhys Hoskins with a single into left field:
- In the top of the fifth inning, Bryce Harper served a ball into left field with runners on first and second and two outs. Third base coach Dusty Wathan sent Odúbel Herrera home from second, but a perfect throw from Kyle Schwarber beat him to the plate:
- After pitching five scoreless innings, Zack Wheeler surrendered a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmerman in the home half of the sixth. Zimmerman, an all-time Phillies killer, was ultimately plated by Starlin Castro on an RBI single that tied the game.
- Veteran catcher Alex Avila was the next batter, and he skied a ball to the warning track in right-center field. The ball was certainly catchable, and probably should have been Harper’s. Instead, the ball dropped between him and Herrera, and the two then collided in an attempt to limit the damage already done. The end result was that Avila reached third on a hit that brought Castro home to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead:
- Harper had a chance to redeem himself in the top of the seventh inning, as he came to the plate with runners on the corners. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Harper grounded out to end the inning, stranding Brad Miller at third base.
- In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ranger Suárez induced what should have been an inning-ending groundout. Instead, the usually sure-handed Jean Segura was indecisive on an in-between hop, and bobbled the ball after staying back, which allowed the Nationals to load the bases. Luckily for the Phillies, Suárez was able to strike Jordy Mercer out to end the inning.
- Three-time All-Star Brad Hand came on for save in the bottom of the ninth inning, but with one out, Herrera redeemed himself by smoking a 414-foot home run over the wall in right-center field:
- The Phillies started out the top of the 10th inning with a runner on second base. Harper went a ways in redeeming himself, leading off the inning with a bloop into left field that allowed Andrew McCutchen to advanced to third base. Rhys Hoskins followed with a single into left field that allowed the Phillies to retake the lead:
- After Alec Bohm grounded into a double play, Nick Maton – who entered the game for Didi Gregorius, who left with right elbow stiffness – plated Harper with an RBI single of his own.
- For good measure, Knapp added his fourth RBI of the series, bringing in Maton with another single, after the rookie stole second and advanced on a bad throw.
- In the home half of the 10th, Héctor Neris retired all three batters he faced, saving a Phillies win.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- Zack Wheeler wasn’t at his best Wednesday, though you can make a case that if Bryce Harper and Odúbel Herrera had communicated better, he would have limited the Nationals to one run over six innings. Instead, the All-Star candidate was charged with two earned runs on eight hits.
- Jon Lester scattered six hits over six frames Wednesday evening, allowing just one run. While the 37-year-old did walk three, he also struck out four. In his first three starts with the Nationals, Lester has a 2.25 ERA. The five-time All-Star is making $5 million this season. Chase Anderson and Matt Moore are making $7 million combined.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday, May 13, 2021 at Washington Nationals
- 1:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network (out of market only)
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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