Final Score: Nationals 13, Phillies 12
On a beautiful summer day in South Philadelphia the Phillies and Nationals met for one of the wildest games all season. The four-and-a-half hour affair witnessed plenty of action, including 15 runs scored in 1 1/2 innings, five home runs (two of which were grand slams) and more blown leads than a Sixers playoff series.
After the Phillies jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind Vince Velasquez, the Nationals responded by plating five men in the fifth. The home team responded with four more, but the visitors tacked on a six-spot in the sixth. Still, the Phillies scratched their way back in the seventh and eighth to take a 12-11 lead into the ninth inning.
Unfortunately, Hector Neris needed just 10 pitches to blow the save and ruin an otherwise exciting afternoon game. If his position as team closer wasn’t already precarious, this game certainly didn’t silence any critics. In his post-game interview, Neris was non-committal about remaining closer, saying he just wants to help the team in any inning.
Offensively, the Phillies were led by Alec Bohm’s four hits and Travis Jankowski’s three hits, including a 3-run home run. Andrew McCutchen hit a Grand Slam in the fifth inning, but ultimately 12 runs were not enough today as the Nationals scored 13.
- With no outs in the second inning, Brad Miller walked. Then Alec Bohm got the Phillies’ first hit with a sharp single up the middle. Trea Turner made a nice diving play to snag it and from his backside threw to Josh Harrison for the force at second, but Harrison dropped the errant throw. Travis Jankowski followed by plating both runners with a 3-run bomb – his first home run in nearly three years.
- In the third, Bryce Harper – seemingly unaffected by the wind blowing towards home plate – and hit a laser shot into the flower bed in left-center for his 10th home run of the season to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. Harper’s last 12 homers (and all 10 this season) have been solo shots according to Larry Shenk.
- The Nationals’ first hit came in the fourth inning when Trea Turner smoked a liner down the line, past a diving Alec Bohm for a double. Vince Velasquez was able to escape the inning without any further damage.
- In the fourth, Jankowski doubled and advanced to third on Ronald Torreyes’ sacrifice fly. Vince Velasquez knocked a first-pitch fastball into left field to drive him in for the Phillies fifth run of the afternoon.
- On the mound, Velasquez got into trouble in the top of the fifth when he walked the first two batters. Starlin Castro drove in the Nationals’ first run when he followed with a double. After a quick mound visit, a defensive disaster struck. In what appeared to be a routine popup just past second base, Odúbel Herrera and Brad Miller collided allowing the ball to drop and missing a chance at the inning’s first out. Velasquez responded by striking out the next batter before being pulled in favor of reliever Archie Bradley. Bradley promptly coughed up a 3-run home run to Kyle Schwarber to tie the game.
- In the bottom frame, the Phillies hit back. After loading the bases, Andrew McCutchen – pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot – took a 3-1 pitch deep for his second career Grand Slam to give the Phillies a 9-5 lead.
- In what seemed increasingly like a heavyweight slugfest, the Nationals punched right back in the top of the sixth. After two strikeouts and three walks by Sam Coonrod, David Hale came in for relief with the bases loaded. He allowed a two-run single to the Nationals’ Trea Turner then walked Juan Soto to load the bases again. Josh Bell stepped to the plate to smack the game’s second grand slam and put Washington up 11-9.
- In another example of bad baserunning Starlin Castro was doubled off first base on a line drive in the seventh.
- The Phillies got a run back in the seventh thanks to a Bohm double, Ronald Torreyes single, and RBI single by Luke Williams to make it 11-10.
- Consecutive singles by Harper and J.T. Realmuto in the eighth set the table for Alec Bohm’s game-tying RBI single. After Jankowski walked to load the bases, Ronald Torreyes gave the Phillies a 12-11 lead with a single under a diving Trea Turner.
- Hector Neris came in for the save in the ninth. Three singles and a sacrifice later, and the Phillies lead was gone. His fifth blown save of the year now puts him in second place among baseball’s closers this year.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Erick Fedde – 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Neither staring pitcher impressed this afternoon. Erick Fedde’s two home runs allowed both came after he was ahead in the count: 0-2 to Jankowski and 1-2 to Harper. He scattered the walks and hits mostly; it was homers that doomed Fedde. He was lifted in the fifth amidst the Nationals first rally.
Vince Velasquez – 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
Velasquez set the tone early by striking out Kyle Schwarber to lead off the game. His fastball topped out at 94 mph and he threw it at 92 consistently around the plate, finishing with five strikeouts on the day. However, his trouble in the fifth inning began with a few close pitches called balls and then everything unraveled. Not surprisingly, he’s averaging just 3.5 innings pitched this season.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday – Off Day
- Friday, June 25 vs. New York Mets at Citi Field
- Doubleheader – 4:10 pm (Nola vs. Walker) and 7:40 pm (Moore vs. Peterson)
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Game 2 also on MLB Network)
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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