No one wanted to win this game. Both teams tried to give it away. Eventually, the Nationals came out on top with Jake Noll playing the hero with a bases-loaded, no-out walk that beat the Phillies, 9-8.
Sánchez Early Exit: Aníbal Sánchez left this afternoon’s game after four innings with a right leg issue that resulted from a liner back to the mound that caught his right thigh before the pitcher caught the ball in the top of the third. Sánchez made the catch, but was hopping on the infield grass trying to shake it off. He stayed in the game, but tweaked something in his at bat in the bottom of the fourth, then tried to test it while warming up in the fifth before a decision was made to end his outing.
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 76 P, 45 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Early Runs, Poor Fundies: Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked this morning with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies about wanting to play a cleaner, better game after losing three of the first four this season, but things didn’t get off to a great start this afternoon in the second of two with the Phillies, when Wilmer Difo threw wide and high trying to get Jean Segura on the first ball put in play, and Sánchez gifted Segura a base with a throwing error on a pick attempt.
Bryce Harper got an intentional walk in the next at bat, and Rhys Hoskins followed with an RBI single to center field that made it a 1-0 game early. Harper took third on the hit and he scored on a swinging bunt by J.T. Realmuto in the next at bat, 2-0, though Sánchez made a slick play to get out No. 2 and held the Phillies there.
Rendon It Again?: Anthony Rendon started the day 10 for 32 (.313/.333/.438) with a double, home run, a walk, and nine Ks in 33 career plate appearances against Phillies’ righty Aaron Nola in their respective careers, and he hit his second homer off the starter (and second in two days) with two down in the home-half of the first this afternoon, cutting the Philly lead in half, 2-1.
️ THIS MAN LEADS ALL NL POSITION PLAYERS IN fWAR SINCE 2017! pic.twitter.com/x3h6JU42FN— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 3, 2019
#TKCHZ: Ryan Zimmerman was 7 for 25 (.280/.280/.520) with three doubles and a home run off Nola in his career before he connected with a 1-1 change and lined it over the left field fence to drive Juan Soto in after Soto’s two-out double, 3-2 Nationals after one in the second of two. Zim’s first of 2019.
Eaton Making Things Happen?: Adam Eaton singled to start the Nationals’ half of the third, and he was running as Brian Dozier struck out when an errant throw by J.T. Realmuto went by second base and into center, allowing the Nationals’ speedy outfielder to take third as Anthony Rendon stepped to the plate with one down. Rendon walked in the next at bat, bringing Juan Soto to the plate, and Soto hit an 0-2 fastball out to left-center for a three-run blast off Nola, and a 6-2 Nationals’ lead. Soto’s 1st of 2019. 426 ft. bomb.
Well, how about that. Juan Soto crushes his first home run of 2019, and he doesn't even need to pull it.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 3, 2019
Soto showed huge power to all fields as a rookie. pic.twitter.com/rDHlQ2phNO
Walks Hurt: Given a 6-2 lead to work with after Soto’s blast, Aníbal Sánchez gave up back-to-back walks in the first two at bats of the fourth, and an RBI double to left field by Cesar Hernandez made it a 6-3 game in the Nationals’ favor. Philly pinch hitter Nick Williams lined a 1-2 cutter to right in the next at bat to drive in another run, 6-4.
Aaron Nola’s Line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 3 HRs, 63 P, 36 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
BULLPEN ACTION: Edubray Ramos took over for the Phils after the brief outing by Nola, and worked around a one-out walk to Victor Robles when the Nats’ rookie got picked off second base on a grounder to third by Brian Dozier one out later.
Robles slid into second, popped up and started towards third, but Maikel Franco feigned the throw to first after fielding Dozier’s grounder, then turned and threw to second to get Robles for the final out of the frame.
Matt Grace took over on the mound for the Nationals at the start of the fifth, when Sánchez decided in warm-ups that he couldn’t continue. Bryce Harper singled on a 2-2 sinker, and one out later, J.T. Realmuto doubled to right to send his teammate around to third, on a 1-0 sinker. Grace struck Odubel Herrera out with a 2-2 sinker, however, and Juan Soto caught a line drive to left off César Hernández’s bat to end the threat and preserve the Nationals’ 6-4 lead.
Anthony Rendon doubled off the top of the left field bullpen wall to lead off the Nationals’ half of the fifth, connecting for his second two-base hit of 2019 on a 3-0 fastball from the Phillies’ righty (Ramos), but he was called out on a tag play at third when he tried to move up on a wild pitch and replay showed a gap between his foot and the third base bag as he slid in. (2nd out on the basepaths for the Nationals).
Justin. Miller. was. dealing. Invisiball and all in a quick, 17-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
Wilmer Difo singled off Juan Nicasio to start the Nats’ half of the sixth inning, and moved up on an error by Jean Segura on what should have been a 6-4-3 DP off of Yan Gomes’ bat, but with Victor Robles trying to bunt both runners over, Difo got picked off by Phils’ catcher J.T. Realmuto when he strayed too far on an unsuccessful attempt at a bunt by Robles and the catcher threw behind him at second. (The 3rd out on the basepaths today).
Miller returned to the mound in the Philly seventh and retired the first batter he faced (Jean Segura), but with Tony Sipp warming, Davey Martinez stuck with the righty against Bryce Harper, who singled, but was stranded when Miller got the 5th and 6th outs of his outing.
Hector Neris handled the seventh for the Phillies, retiring the Nationals in order.
Tony Sipp gave up a leadoff single and recorded an out before the Nats’ skipper went to the pen again for Trevor Rosenthal vs Maikel Franco, but Rosenthal walked him to put two on in front of Scott Kingery, who walked as well.
Kyle Barraclough inherited the bases-loaded, one-out jam, and gave up a base-clearing, go-ahead double, 7-6 Phillies, and 8-6 on a Jean Segura RBI single to short left.
Seranthony Dominguez gave up a leadoff single by Andrew Stevenson and a one-out RBI double by Yan Gomes, but he got out of the final out of the eigh—actually, he threw it by Rhys Hoskins at first, allowing Gomes to score to tie it at 8-8. Good lord.
Sean Doolittle retired the Phillies in order in the top of the ninth, and David Robertson came on for the Phils in the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff single to center field off of Anthony Rendon’s bat. Juan Soto walked, moving Rendon into scoring position. The second walk of the inning, to Ryan Zimmerman, loaded the bases for pinch hitter Jake Noll, who hit —- nothing, he took a walk to beat the Phillies. Yep. Mr. Walk-off, Jr. did it.
Nationals now 2-3