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Washington Nationals drop 3-2 decision to Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park...

Jeremy Hellickson returned to the Nationals’ rotation and gave up three runs in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Vince Velasquez was out early after taking a line drive off his right arm in the second inning and the Philadelphia Phillies pieced together the rest of the game while scoring three runs off Washington Nationals’ righty Jeremy Hellickson and holding on for a 3-2 win in the third of four between the NL East rivals in Citizens Bank Park.

Hellboy vs Phillies: Before he went down with a hamstring injury on June 3rd, Nationals’ starter Jeremy Hellickson was unbeaten in nine starts in Washington’s rotation, with an impressive 2.28 ERA, six walks, 34 Ks, and a .219/.258/.361 line against in 43 13 innings pitched.

Hellickson allowed one run or fewer in eight of his nine outings before landing on the DL.

This evening in Citizens Bank Park, the veteran right-hander worked around a single and a walk in the first and a one-out triple in the second for two scoreless on 43 pitches.

Odubel Herrera hit a 2-1 fastball out to right (and deep into the stands) with two out in the third, however, tying things up with one swing, and back-to-back, two-out doubles by the Phillies’ 7-8 hitters, Jesmuel Valentin and Jorge Alfaro in the fourth put the home team up, before a third straight double, by Aaron Altherr, made it a two-run lead, 3-1.

Hellickson came back out for the fifth at 78 pitches, and was lifted with two on and two out after 98 pitches overall...

Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 57 S, 3/4 GO/FO.

Velasquez vs the Nationals: Philly righty Vince Velasquez held the Nationals to one run on five hits, walking four and striking out four when he faced the Phillies’ NL East rivals in D.C. back on May 5th.

“He was tough,” Davey Martinez told reporters after a 3-1 loss that day. “He pitched really well. He elevated his fastball, threw breaking balls, kept us off-balance, but he was really good today.”

In nine starts since then, the right-hander was (3-4) with a 4.38 ERA and a .219/.298/.396 line against in 51 13 innings pitched before taking on the Nationals again.

Velasquez tossed a scoreless top of the first tonight, but a one-out single by Wilmer Difo in the second, an errant pick attempt that let Difo take third, and an RBI double to center field by Spencer Kieboom put the Nationals ahead, 1-0.

One batter later, Velasquez took a liner off of his right arm, dropped his glove, and threw with his left hand to get Adam Eaton at first for the final out of the Nats’ second. His start ended there, unfortunately.

Vince Velasquez’s Line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 43 P, 27 S, 1/0 GO/FO.

BULLPEN ACTION: Victor Arano took over for Velasquez in the top of the third, and tossed two quick, scoreless frames on 23 pitches as the Phillies tied it up at 1-1.

It was 3-1 Philly when Tommy Hunter took over in the top of the fifth, and worked around a leadoff single by Adam Eaton for a scoreless frame, with a little help from Trea Turner on a caught stealing at second with Bryce Harper at the plate.

Justin Miller took over for Hellickson with two on and two out in the Phillies’ fifth, and got the final out of the inning to keep it a two-run game, and Anthony Rendon homered off of Hunter in the top of the sixth inning, taking an 0-1 curve to the second deck in left to get the Nationals within one, 3-2. No. 11 for Rendon.

Miller tossed a scoreless sixth, working around a two-out walk to Maikel Franco, and Adam Morgan retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh.

Ryan Madson tossed a scoreless bottom of the seventh, and the Nationals got a single from Trea Turner and a walk from Bryce Harper off Morgan before the Phillies went to the pen for Yacksel Rios against Rendon, and got an out on a hard-hit liner to right.

Juan Soto popped up on the first the first pitch he saw for out No. 2, and Mark Reynolds grounded out to end the threat. Still 3-2 Phillies.

Kelvin Herrera tossed a scoreless 15-pitch bottom of the eighth inning to keep it a one-run game, but Phillies’ closer Seranthony Dominguez stranded a runner after a two-out, pinch hit double by Daniel Murphy to close out the win for the Phillies.


Final Score: 3-2 Phillies

Nationals now 42-39