A day after enduring a 17-3 beatdown at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, manager Dusty Baker drew up a lineup without veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Wieters (rest) or leadoff man Trea Turner (hamstring).
Stephen Strasburg took the hill for the Washington Nationals, aiming to give a bullpen that had thrown 14 2/3 innings over the team’s last three games a break.
While Strasburg gave up only three runs in seven innings of work, the Nats’ offense was unable to put anything together against the Phillies’ pitching staff until the ninth.
Zimmerman entered the game as a pinch hitter with two outs in the final inning, then smacked a three-run blast over the left field wall to tie the game at 3-3 and finally get the Nats on the board.
Their momentum would be short-lived, however, as Koda Glover allowed two hits and a walk in the bottom of the ninth — including a walk-off single off the bat of Cesar Hernández. 4-3 Phillies final.
Nationals now 3-3
Here’s how it happened:
• Odubel Herrera smacked the first hit of the afternoon for either team in the bottom of the first, but was quickly erased after a replay challenge overturned a safe call on a stolen base attempt of second base.
• The Nats’ offense struggled to get anything going against Phillies’ starter Jeremy Hellickson, who needed just 35 pitches to retire the first nine hitters he faced.
Philadelphia edged out to an early 1-0 lead when Tommy Joseph reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on a two-out single to center field off the bat of Freddy Galvis in the bottom of the second.
• Adam Eaton was the first National to reach base, leading off the top of the fourth with his NL-high seventh walk of the season. He went first-to-third on a Daniel Murphy single two outs later, but both runners were stranded when Adam Lind grounded out to end the inning. Murphy’s single gave him a hit in his sixth straight game.
• Stephen Strasburg cruised through his first four innings allowing only the one run, but ran into trouble in the fifth. Andrew Knapp picked up his first career MLB-hit with a leadoff double that Jayson Werth let scoot under his glove and roll to the wall.
Knapp moved to third when Hellickson grounded out to put two men down in the frame. Cesar Hernández then hit a grounder to Daniel Murphy’s left, but the second baseman was forced to hesitate with the throw to allow Lind to find first base, 2-0.
The lead was pushed to three runs one batter later when Howie Kendrick pulled a fastball into the left-center field gap for the 300th double of his career and Hernández scored from first.
• Hellickson walked out to the mound for the top of the sixth, but left with a trainer favoring an apparent hand injury (blister? forearm?) before throwing a pitch. Joaquin Benoit relieved Hellickson and worked around an Eaton one-out single for a quick 16-pitch frame.
• Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 70 P, 44 S, 3/10 GO/FO
• Maikel Franco worked a walk out of a 3-2 count to lead off the sixth, but was stranded after Strasburg struck out Michael Saunders and forced Joseph and Knapp into back-to-back groundouts.
• The Nationals finally got their first extra-base hit when Lind doubled off Phillies reliever Pat Neshek with one out in the seventh. Werth drew a five-pitch walk to put runners on first and second and Lind moved to third on a deep fly ball to right courtesy of Stephen Drew.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin opted to go to Hector Neris for the final out. He rewarded his skipper with a one-pitch out by forcing Jose Lobaton to ground out to short.
• Strasburg took the mound in the bottom of the seventh at 95 pitches, but he only needed 10 more to take the Phillies down 1-2-3 and end his afternoon on a high note.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 8 Ks, 105 P, 69 S, 6/6 GO/FO
• Neris came back out for the eighth and it looked like the Nats might be able to get something going when pinch hitter Wilmer Difo drew a leadoff walk and Eaton saw three straight balls to begin his at-bat.
Washington would be unable to score, however, as Neris recovered by striking out Eaton five pitches later, getting Anthony Rendon to line out to Herrera in center field on the first pitch he saw and striking out Bryce Harper swinging on a breaking ball in the dirt.
• Sammy Solis took the mound for the Nats in the bottom of the eight and promptly walked Kendrick to start the inning. He would recover, however, and forced three straight groundouts to get through the inning.
• In the top of the ninth, closer Jeanmar Gomez allowed a one-out single to Adam Lind then gave Werth a free pass to bring the tying run to the plate. Stephen Drew struck out on a check swing to bring up the pinch-hitting Ryan Zimmerman as the Nats’ final hope.
The first baseman, whose only other career pinch-hit home run came on April 15, 2010 against the Phillies, answered the call by crushing a no-doubt three-run homer on a 2-0 count into the left field seats to tie the game.
Matt Wieters was forced to enter the game as well due to Zimmerman pinch-hitting for Lobaton. He promptly hit a double off the right field wall, but Eaton grounded out to end the frame.
• Nats manager Dusty Baker opted to go with rookie Koda Glover to keep the game tied in the bottom of the ninth. Unfortunately for the Nats, he wouldn’t be able to come through. Daniel Nava led off the inning with a walk, went first-to-third on a Galvis single and scored the winning run when Hernández singled to shallow left field.
Nationals lose, 4-3 final.
Nationals now 3-3