Washington’s Nationals fielded a makeshift lineup and managed to keep it close through five and a half, but the Philadelphia Phillies blew it wide open with a five-run sixth inning and took the series finale and 2 of 3 in the series with a 7-1 win in Citizens Bank Park.
Sánchez vs the Phillies: Aníbal Sánchez made his first two starts of 2019 against the Phillies, giving up 11 hits, six walks, and seven earned runs in 9 2⁄3 IP in those outings (6.52 ERA), and the veteran right-hander was winless in six starts on the season before going up against the Nationals’ NL East rivals for the third time in the finale of the three-game set in Citizens Bank Park this afternoon.
Sánchez got in trouble early, with a single, ROE, and one-out walk loading the bases in the bottom of the first, and after Carter Kieboom’s E:6 earlier in the inning, a second error by Jake Noll at first base, on a two-out ground ball that should have ended the frame, allowed two runs to score to make it a 2-0 game.
It was 2-1 in the home team’s favor in the fourth, when a double, walk, and intentional BB loaded the bases up with one down, but Sánchez struck the opposing pitcher out for the second out of the inning, and struck Andrew McCutchen out to escape the jam and keep things close.
Sánchez returned to the mound in the fifth and picked up his ninth K of the game before a two-out walk to Rhys Hoskins ended his outing after 108 pitches total...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 Ks, 108 P, 70 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
Eflin vs the Nationals: Philly righty Zach Eflin made his 2019 debut against the Washington Nationals back on April 2nd, tossing five scoreless on the mound in the nation’s capital, in an 8-2 win for the visiting team.
Coming off a complete game against the Miami Marlins, Eflin took on the Phillies’ NL East rivals from D.C. for a second time this afternoon.
He went into the game (3-3) overall on the year with a 3.34 ERA, five walks, 26 Ks, and a .268/.294/.420 line against in 35 IP.
Eflin tossed three scoreless in 44 pitches to start the series finale this afternoon, but a 1-1 fastball to Kurt Suzuki in the fourth ended up in the left field seats for Suzuki’s 5th HR this season, and his third in his last three games, 2-1.
Eflin retired eight straight Nationals after Suzuki’s home run, and was up to 83 pitches total after an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth.
With a 7-1 lead after six innings, Eflin returned to the mound and gave up leadoff and one-out singles by Kurt Suzuki and Andrew Stevenson, respectively, but he got out of the jam and completed the seventh at 108 pitches total.
Zach Eflin’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 108 P, 70 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
Suzuki Homers: Kurt Suzuki homered in the series opener in Citizens Bank, then he hit a pinch hit, three-run home run late in Saturday night’s game, and he made it three games straight with a solo shot in the fourth inning this afternoon, when he hit a 1-1 fastball from Philly righty Zach Eflin out to left field to get the Nationals on the board, down 2-1.
Home run No. 5 of 2019 for the catcher, whose surfing home run celebration in the dugout might get banned after this...
BULLPEN ACTION: Matt Grace took over for Aníbal Sánchez with a runner on and two out in the fifth, and Odubel Herrera up, and struck Herrera out to keep it a one-run game in Philly’s favor.
Grace gave up a one-out single by Andrew Knapp in the bottom of the sixth inning, and a line drive single by Maikel Franco which put runners on first and third, and perfect bunt by Zach Eflin brought in the Phillies’ third run of the game, 3-1. A walk to Andrew McCutchen loaded the bases up with one out and the fourth run scored when Jean Segura beat out a double play on a grounder to short, 4-1. Bryce Harper lined an RBI single to right in the at bat that followed, 5-1. Rhys Hoskins followed with a two-run double on a 3-1 cutter, 7-1.
Grace returned in the seventh as well, taking one for the team, working around a double for a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Enyel De Los Santos took the hill in the top of the eighth and worked around back-to-back, two-out singles for a scoreless frame.
Justin Miller got the bottom of the eighth inning for the Nationals and retired the Phillies in order.
De Los Santos returned for the top of the ninth and retired the Nats in order to end it.
Nationals now 14-19