Washington Nationals’ starter Aníbal Sánchez gave up a two-run homer by Odubel Herrera in the bottom of the fourth fourth and a solo home run by Rhys Hoskins in the sixth as the Philadelphia Phillies took the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, 4-3. Hoskins homered in the eighth as well, connecting for his 4th and 5th of the season tonight.
Kurt Suzuki homered in the second inning, a two-run shot, and Brian Dozier added a solo HR in the top of the ninth, but the Nats suffered their fifth loss in nine games this season.
Sánchez Start No. 2: Going up against the Phillies in his first start with the Nationals after signing a 2-year/$19M free agent deal this winter, Aníbal Sánchez took a line drive off his right hip that eventually, when it tightened up on him, resulted in an abbreviated, four-inning outing last week, in which he gave up a total of four hits, four walks, and four runs.
Just to add to the fours, tonight’s start was Sánchez’s fourth consecutive outing against Philadelphia after he ended 2018 in Atlanta with back-to-back starts against the Phillies.
While he reportedly had a nice bruise after taking the liner off the hip Sánchez was able to make his scheduled start in the series opener with the Phils tonight in Citizens Bank Park.
He got off to a good start with three scoreless innings on just 40 pitches, working around three hits and a walk as the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Odubel Herrera got hold of a first-pitch fastball up in the zone in the bottom of the fourth, however, and hit a two-run home run out to right field to tie it up at 2-2.
Another homer in the sixth, by Rhys Hoskins on a 3-2 curve low in the zone, put the Phillies on top, 3-2. Hoskins’ 4th of 2019, and a one-out walk and two-out single ended Sánchez’s night...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 83 P, 50 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Velasquez vs the Nationals: Vince Velasquez made his 2019 debut out of the bullpen with a scoreless inning in relief during the Phillies’ two-game set in D.C. last week. He was down 2-0 early in the series opener in Citizens Bank Park tonight, after giving up a leadoff double to right by Juan Soto in the second, and a one-out, two-run homer to left by Kurt Suzuki, who crushed a 2-2 slider and lined it into the seats for his first home run of 2019.
That was all Velasquez gave up through five, and the Phillies rallied to tie things up at 2-2 on a two-run home run by Odubel Herrera in the bottom of the fourth.
Vince Velasquez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 49 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Rendon is Streaking: Anthony Rendon extended his hit streak to seven-straight games with a three-run home run on Sunday, and he went 1 for 3 with two walks and three runs scored in the win over the Mets, leaving him 13 for 26 (.500 AVG) with four doubles, four HRs, nine RBIs, five walks, and 12 runs scored during the streak, with at least one extra-base hit in five of the seven games.
Tonight in Citizens Bank Park, where he had a .291/.360/.503 career line, 13 doubles and nine home runs before the series began, Rendon started off 0 for 2 against right-hander Vince Velasquez ... and struck out on some nasty stuff from Seranthony Dominguez in the top of the sixth, 0 for 3, but a double in the ninth extended his hit streak to eight-straight games.
Baserunning and the Little Things: Ryan Zimmerman singled off Vince Velasquez with two down in the fourth, and tried to score from first on a Kurt Suzuki liner to right-center, but a throw in to the second cutoff man (Jean Segura) by Bryce Harper, and a strong relay home got Zimmerman by a mile and ended the two-out threat, then the Phillies tied things up in the bottom of the fourth inning... Good send? Or “Sendley Strikes again”?
BULLPEN ACTION: Seranthony Dominguez took over for the Phillies in the top of the sixth, and retired the Nationals in order to keep it a 2-2 game, and the home team took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning on a go-ahead home run by Rhys Hoskins.
Wander Suero inherited a two-on, two-out jam from Aníbal Sánchez later in the Philly sixth, and got an inning-ending groundout from Maikel Franco.
Adam Morgan came on for the Phillies in the top of the seventh, and retired the side in order to keep it a 3-2 game in the home team’s favor.
Kyle Barraclough retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh inning, but he bobbled a weak roller of Jean Segura’s bat and let the shortstop on with two down and Bryce Harper looming in the on-deck circle. Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went to the ‘pen again for Tony Sipp, who got a groundout to second with the first pitch he threw to Harper. Still 3-2 Philly.
David Robertson, who gave up a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the ninth inning of the Nats and Phillies’ game in D.C. last week, worked around a two-out single by Victor Robles for a scoreless top of the eighth.
Justin Miller gave up the second home run of the game by Rhys Hoskins on a 3-1 fastball up in the zone inside, 4-2 Phillies in the eighth.
Pat Neshek came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and gave up a solo shot to the left of center by Brian Dozier, whose first of 2019 made it a one-run game, 4-3 Philly.
Anthony Rendon doubled to left in the next at bat, putting the tying run on second with no one out, and Ryan Zimmerman moved him over to third with a one-out groundout, but Kurt Suzuki sent a weak fly to right to end the threat... Phillies win, 4-3 final.
Nationals now 4-5