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Nationals rally in the 8th for an 8-6, sweep-avoiding win over the Phillies in the nation’s capital...

Philadelphia Phillies’ skipper Gabe Kapler walked Juan Soto to load the bases in front of Daniel Murphy and the Washington Nationals’ infielder lined a two-run single over second to put the Nats up 7-6 in what ended up an 8-6 win.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With two on and two out in the eighth, Philadelphia Phillies’ skipper Gabe Kapler walked 19-year-old slugger Juan Soto to load’em up in front of Washington Nationals’ infielder Daniel Murphy, and Murphy took it personally and lined a two-run single over second base to put the Nats ahead, 7-6, in what ended up an 8-6, sweep-avoiding win in the nation’s capital.

Rodriguez vs the Phillies: After putting up a 3.31 ERA, a 3.67 FIP, 28 walks (3.71 BB/9), and 72 Ks (9.53 K/9) in 13 starts and 68 innings pitched at Double-A Harrisburg, Nationals’ prospect Jefry Rodriguez had put up a 4.66 ERA and a 5.79 FIP, with five walks (3.71 BB/9), and nine Ks (8.38 K/9) in his first 9 23 IP in the majors before tonight’s start against the Phillies.

Going up against the super-patient, pitch-taking Philadelphia lineup, Rodriguez had to work to get through two scoreless on 47 pitches. “How patient are the Phillies?” you ask. Shut up, you asked.

From the Philly pregame notes:

“The Phillies boast three players who rank inside the top 10 in walk rate in the majors: Carlos Santana (5th, 17.0%), Rhys Hoskins (9th, 15.6%) and Cesar Hernandez (10th, 14.9 %) … They lead the majors in walk rate by a considerable margin (10.4 %, next-closest 9.9 %) and also lead in walks (292) and rank 2nd in pitches/plate appearance (4.03).”

Eight pitches (and one out) into the third, Rodriguez and the Nationals were down 2-0 after pitcher Nick Pivetta singled and Rhys Hoskins hit a 94 mph 0-1 fastball out the other way for a two-run shot to right that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard and put the Phillies ahead.

It was a 2-2 game when Rodriguez took the mound in the fifth inning, after a 15-pitch fourth that left him at 81 pitches, and after the Nationals rallied for two runs against Phillies’ righty Nick Pivetta in the bottom of the fourth.

Rodriguez returned to the mound in the fifth, after a 30-ish minute rain delay and issued a leadoff walk to Cesar Hernandez, who stole second in the next at bat. A fastball off of Rhys Hoskins’ elbow put two on and ended the starter’s outing.

Jefry Rodriguez’s Line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 96 P, 60 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Pivetta’s revenge: Drafted by the Nationals in the 4th Round of the 2013 Draft and traded to the Phillies in the Jonathan Papelbon deal, Nick Pivetta debuted in the majors last season.

Going into today’s start, the 25-year-old right-hander was winless in his last five outings with a 5.81 ERA and a .276/.342/.449 line against in 26 13 IP over that stretch.

His last start vs the Nationals didn’t go well either. He was knocked out after just an inning-plus, in which he gave up five hits, three walks, and six earned runs.

Pivetta got off to a good start tonight, however, with three scoreless on 39 pitches, and a run scored after he singled and came around on a Rhys Hoskins’ home run.

It was a 2-1 game two pitches into the fourth, however, after Anthony Rendon hit a 95 mph 2-0 fastball out to left-center for a solo shot (his 9th) which got the Nationals on the board.

Three straight singles followed with Juan Soto, Daniel Murphy, and Michael A. Taylor hitting grounders through the infield with Taylor’s driving Soto in from third to tie things up at 2-2.

After a rain delay, the Philly starter stranded Murphy and Taylor, striking out Pedro Severino and the opposing pitcher to keep it tied at 2-2.

Pivetta’s ability to limit the damage paid off when the Phillies rallied for four runs in the fifth to jump out to a 6-2 lead, but a one-out double by Bryce Harper and a two-out walk by Juan Soto in the bottom of the inning gave the Nationals a chance to start something, and Daniel Murphy walked as well, loading the bases in front of Michael A. Taylor, who K’d swinging at some high heat.

Nick Pivetta’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 KS, 1 HR, 87 P, 60 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

Rendone it again: Anthony Rendon started the series finale with the Phillies having hit safely in eight of nine games, going 15 for 33 over that stretch (.455 AVG) with five doubles, two homer runs, four walks, and eight runs scored. Rendon had reached base safely in all nine of those games, with multi-hit efforts in six of the nine.

He reached base, and rounded the bases in his second trip to the plate tonight, taking a 95 mph 2-0 fastball from Pivetta to left field for a leadoff blast in the bottom of the fourth, and his 9th home run of 2018.

Rendon added an RBI double in the sixth, connecting for his 20th two-base hit of 2018, and his seventh multi-hit effort in the last ten games.

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

BULLPEN ACTION: Sammy Solis inherited a two-on, no-out jam from Jefry Rodriguez, and gave up a two-run triple to right by Odubel Herrera, and a one-out, two-run home run off Nick Williams’ bat as the Phillies jumped out to a 6-2 lead.

Shawn Kelley took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, working around a two-out walk and single for a scoreless frame.

Edubray Ramos gave up a two-out, pinch hit single by Adam Eaton, and an RBI triple by Trea Turner, who lined a 1-1 slider to left, where Rhys Hoskins came up empty on an ill-advised try to make a diving catch, 6-3 Phillies.

Austin Davis took over on the mound for Ramos for a lefty vs lefty battle with Bryce Harper, and gave up an RBI double to right that was feet from a two-run home run, 6-4 Phillies.

An RBI double to left by Anthony Rendon (No. 20) followed in the next at bat, making it 6-5, but Juan Soto K’d swinging to strand Rendon at second, and Soto slammed his bat to the ground in frustration after the strikeout.

Matt Grace tossed a scoreless, 11-pitch top of the seventh to keep it a one-run game, and the Nats put runners on the corners with one out against Philly righty Tommy Hunter, but Pedro Severino grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.

Ryan Madson tossed a scoreless top of the eighth for the Nationals. Victor Arano gave up a pinch hit walk to Brian Goodwin, and one out later was replaced by Seranthony Dominguez, who came on to face Bryce Harper, and gave up a ground ball double to right field that put runners on second and third with one out.

Anthony Rendon shattered his bat grounding out, and after a base-loading intentional walk to Juan Soto, Daniel Murphy fell behind, 1-2, then lined a slider over a second base for a two-run single that put the Nationals ahead, 7-6, and an RBI single by Michael A. Taylor in the next at bat made it an 8-6 game.

Sean Doolittle took the mound in the ninth, looking for save No. 21 in 22 opportunities, and tossed a scoreless frame.


Final Score: 8-6 Nationals

Nationals now 41-35