Dusty Baker's decision to rest some of the Washington Nationals' regulars today was not one he made after the Nats took the first two games of the three-game weekend set with the Phillies in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.
"I already had it planned," Baker explained after Saturday night's 8-1 win.
"I usually do my lineup two or three days in advance. Winning the first two games doesn't have anything to do with it, really.
"I'm just trying to get some guys some at bats, day after night, the guys have been busting it, we're about to go to hot Miami."
Michael A. Taylor, Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman all sat out of the series finale.
Chris Heisey, Jose Lobaton, Stephen Drew and Clint Robinson got a shot against Philly righty Charlie Morton in the third game of three in CBP.
Gio Gonzalez was on the mound for the Nationals, coming off a solid start in his first outing of 2016 last week in the nation's capital, but he fell behind early this afternoon, after falling behind veteran Philly backstop Carlos Ruiz and grooving a 3-0 fastball to the catcher that ended up in the left field seats, 1-0 Phillies after two.
Philly righty Charlie Morton, whose cutter was brutal early, started things off with five scoreless frames, but a leadoff walk in the sixth came around to score, two outs later -- after a balk and a second walk -- when Nats' third baseman Anthony Rendon hit an RBI single to right to drive Stephen Drew in from third and tie it up at 1-1.
Morton was done after six innings, in which he allowed just the one run. Gonzalez worked around a one-out walk in his final inning of work in the seventh.
Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 60 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
With the score still tied at 1-1 after nine, the NL East rivals went to extras where Bryce Harper worked the count full against Phillies' closer Jeanmar Gomez and hit a 3-2 fastball to right-center and over the corner of the out-of-town scoreboard. 2-1 Nationals on Harper's 6th home run of the year. Homers in four straight overall and six straight in Citizens Bank Park.
Jonathan Papelbon gave up a one-out double by Peter Bourjos in the Phillies' tenth, and pinch hitter Andres Blanco lined a single to left to bring him in ahead of a strong throw home by Jayson Werth. Tied at 2-2.
Freddy Galvis followed with a fly ball to left that got over Jayson Werth's head for a walk-off winner. 3-2 Phillies.
Nationals now 9-2
- Last night's win gave the Nationals seven straight wins and a 9-1 record overall on the season, extending their franchise best start, which is the best (2005-present) in franchise history, Montreal included (1969-present) and D.C. baseball history.
- A win this afternoon, in the series finale with the Phillies would match the Nationals' longest winning streak last season.
- Bryce Harper homered for the third consecutive game last night and the fifth straight time in a game played in Citizens Bank Park. He is the fourth player ever to homer in five straight games in Philadelphia, joining Jim Bottomley (1929), Ernie Banks (1955) and Matt Stairs (2004-2007). He made it six straight games in CBP and four overall with home runs when he hit a 3-2 fastball out off Philly closer Jeanmar Gomez in the 10th.
- Harper's current three-game home run streak is the longest of his career, and he's done it three times before (May 6-9, September 4-6 and September 14-16) all in 2015.
- Phillies' center fielder Odubel Herrera has walked sixt times in the last three games and 11 times total so far this season. He's also seen more pitches than any other hitter in the majors (255) and ranks first in pitchers per plate appearances with 5.20 per PA thus far. He took his 12th walk in the Philly 6th.
- Jayson Werth is still sitting on 199 career home runs. When he hits it, he'll be the fourth player to hit his 200th career homer in a Nationals uniform, joining Alfonso Soriano, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman.
- Before today, Daniel Murphy had reached base in 21 of his first 39 plate appearances with the Nationals, connecting for 14 hits, three doubles, two triples and two home runs, with seven walks. His second single of the game in the 7th gave him six multi-hit game in the Nats' first eleven games.
- Gio Gonzalez started the day (8-5) career in 16 starts against the Phillies with a 3.02 ERA overall against the Phillies and a 2.66 ERA in ten starts in Philadelphia.
Nationals now 9-2