Final Score: Phillies 7, Nationals 6
The Phillies finished off their last epic comeback against the Nationals this season, erasing a 6-0 deficit and winning 7-6 on Thursday at Nationals Park. Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, Odúbel Herrera went 3-for-5 with a go-ahead RBI fielder’s choice and a combination of Enyel De Los Santos, JD Hammer, Sam Coonrod, Archie Bradley and Ian Kennedy threw four and a third shutout innings in relief. Starter Aaron Nola was not sharp in his outing.
Philadelphia will surely miss facing the post-trade deadline Nationals bullpen. In the series, Nats relievers have surrendered 10 earned runs, 17 hits and eight walks.
The Nationals turned what should have been a quick third inning into a three-spot. With two strikes and two out, Lane Thomas drilled a hanging curveball to center field to put the Nationals up front. Things got a lot worse two batters later. With a man on, Juan Soto crushed his third-career home run off Nola to give his team a 3-0 lead.
Nola unraveled in the fifth. Two singles and a walk later, the 28-year-old was out of the game after four innings. All three runners scored as Bailey Falter allowed back-to-back singles to Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The Nationals sent nine men to the plate that inning.
The Phillies responded the next half inning by scoring three runs and sending eight men to the plate. Paolo Espino was pulled after five and a third. Nationals pitcher Mason Thompson allowed two walks in relief along with a bases-clearing double from McCutchen.
A four-run rally in the seventh gave Philadelphia the lead and erased a six-run deficit. Two crucial misplays on two potential double-play balls by the young infielder Luis García gave way for the Phillies to both tie the game and take the lead. The first one was hit off the bat of the pinch hitter Nick Maton and scored two. The next batter Herrera hit a grounder straight at Garcia. He pump faked to home, then threw to second, but the relay throw was not in time to get Herrera and the Phillies’ seventh run came across the plate.
The Phillies are now 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East and 2 games out of the second Wild card spot in the National League. The Braves take on the Colorado Rockies in Denver at 8:40 p.m. ET. The Reds, Padres and Cardinals all have the day off.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Aaron Nola: 4 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2 HR, 83 pitches
Nola’s unspectacular 2021 season continues. He has struggled to put batters away deep in counts all season and that continued on Thursday. He was a strike away from retiring Thomas and throwing a 1-2-3 third. Instead, the Nationals scored three runs on two homers from Thomas and Soto. Nationals hitters were not fooled by Nola’s curveball. They only swung and missed at it once, which is unheard of.
“It was just hanging a little bit,” Nola said when asked about his curveball. “It wasn’t sharp. It popped out of my hand a little bit today. I’m sure [the hitters] can see it popping up a little bit.”
Paolo Espino: 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 89 pitches
Espino was given the tall task of taming the Phillies’ red-hot offense and he did just that. While his fastball averaged at around 88.5 mph, the pitch was effective because he was able to consistently throw it for a strike. He had 18 called strikes on the pitch.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
Quote of the Game
A reporter asked McCutchen for a prediction on how the regular season will end for the Phillies.
“In a world that we want to be in, we’ll be in first place and be raising that banner and winning the division. We know we can do it. We have the schedule to be able to do that. We just gotta go out there and do it. This is an exciting month. This is what baseball is all about.”
Didi Gregorius (restricted list/paternity list) and Travis Jankowski (paternity list) will return to the Phillies on Friday.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Friday, Sept. 3 vs. Miami Marlins at 7:10 p.m. ET
- loanDepot Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia; MLB Network
- Sportsradio 94 WIP
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