After giving up two runs total in back-to-back wins over the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals' starter Joe Ross struggled in his last outing before today's, giving up four hits, four walks and five runs over four innings in what ended up being a 10-5 win over the Chicago White Sox last week in U.S. Cellular Field.
"We tried to stick with Joe as long as we could," Dusty Baker told reporters, "but we decided not to send him back out there the next inning because he had 90-something pitches [after] the fourth."
"I just felt a little out of rhythm," Ross said. "Just kind of searching. Command wasn't there. Just tried to do what I could with what I had. I kind of got knocked out early, but it's all right."
This afternoon in the nation's capital, Ross was facing the Phillies for the third time this season after going (2-0) with a 0.61 ERA, four walks, 12 Ks and a .122/.189/.163 line against over 14 ⅔ IP in his first two starts against the Nationals' divisional rivals.
The recently-turned 23-year-old right-hander got an early lead to work with courtesy of sac flies by Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos in the bottom of the first, and a solo home run by Danny Espinosa on the first pitch of the second.
The home run was Espinosa's 11th on the year and his 8th in his last 15 games played, over which he's gone 14 for 54 (259 AVG) with two doubles and the eight homers.
Ross got off to a strong start, retiring 13 of the first 14 batters faced and he was up to 10-straight set down after a two-out single in the first when he set the Phillies down in order in a ten-pitch top of the fourth that gave him four scoreless innings on 51 pitches.
After working around an error and getting a double play for the first two outs of the fifth, however, Cody Asche took him deep to left for an opposite field blast on a 1-1 changeup outside that the Phillies' outfielder pushed out to left, 3-1.
Phillies' starter Adam Morgan doubled to right-center field to start the sixth and scored on an opposite field double by Odubel Herrera, 3-2, and Herrera scored on an RBI single to left by Freddy Galvis, 3-3.
Joe Ross vs the Phillies: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 64 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
Sammy Solis took over on the mound in the eighth with the game still tied at 3-3, and worked around a one-out single in a scoreless 18-pitch frame.
David Hernandez finished off the seventh for the Phillies and came back out for a scoreless eighth.
Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and left a 2-2 slider up in the zone for Maikel Franco, who did. not. miss. Solo shot to left, 4-3 Phillies.
Jeanmar Gomez came on for the save opportunity and gave up back-to-back one-out hits by Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa and a two-out walk to Clint Robinson, loading the bases in front of Jayson Werth, who hit a two-run single to center for the walk-off winner. 5-4 Nationals. Ballgame.
Nationals now 39-24
- Washington's win over Philadelphia yesterday left them 2-3 against the Phillies in the nation's capital this season and and 7-4 overall against their NL East rivals this season.
- The Nationals' win on Saturday gave them nine wins in their last 12 games and 38 wins overall in their first 62. Their 38-24 record on the year matched the best record through 62 games in franchise history (2005-present), and gave the Nats the second-best record in the National League, behind only the Chicago Cubs (42-18), who come to D.C. on Monday.
- The Nationals' +75 run differential this season is second in the NL as well, behind only the Cubs (+151).
- With yesterday's loss the Phillies fell four games under .500 on the year for the first time since they dropped the first four games of the season.
- In today's Phillies-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Philadelphia is 5-17 overall... since May 19th, which is the lowest winning percentage in the majors over the stretch.
- In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" update: Washington is now 58-46 against Philadelphia... since 2011, after going 39-71 against the Phillies from 2005-2010.
- Tommy Joseph, acquired in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants, has hit in 15 of 17 games in which he's started, going 22 for 65 (.338 AVG) with two doubles, seven home runs and nine runs scored in those 17 games.
- Phillies' starter Adam Morgan has allowed just one walk over his last three starts and he'd gone 12 innings without a walk allowed heading into today's start.
- In Morgan's one career start against the Nationals before today, he allowed six runs on nine hits in in six innings and took the loss.
- Yesterday's 8-0 win over the Phillies was a home run-free victory for the Nationals, who had a streak of 14-straight games with a home run snapped. Washington currently leads the National League with 85 home runs as a team.
- Daniel Murphy started the series finale with MLB's highest batting average (.374), and he was tied for first in the majors with 28 multi-hit games.
- Murphy was also third in the NL in fWAR heading into today's game, at 2.9, behind only the Cubs' duo of Dexter Fowler (3.2) and Kris Bryan (3.1).
Nationals now 39-24