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Washington Nationals rally late, but drop finale with Philadelphia Phillies on walk-off home run by Maikel Franco, 4-3 final.

Maikel Franco hit a walk-off homer in the ninth to avoid a sweep of the three-game set with the Nationals in CBP...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing 3-1 after six, the Washington Nationals tied things up with back-to-back, one-out walks and two consecutive RBI singles in the seventh, but the Philadelphia Phillies got a walk-off home run from Maikel Franco to avoid a sweep in the three-game set in Citizens Bank Park.

Sánchez vs the Phillies: Aníbal Sánchez wrapped up the first half of the first year of his 2-year/$19M deal with the Nationals with a strong seven-start stretch over which he went (5-0) with a 2.18 ERA, eight walks, 24 Ks, and a .206/.253/.348 line against in 41 13 innings.

It did, however, follow a nine-outing winless streak that started the season, which saw the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran go (0-6) with a 5.10 ERA, 25 walks, 41 Ks, and a .263/.353/.463 line against in 42 13 innings pitched.

Sánchez’s outing in the series finale with the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park began with three scoreless, but he took the mound in the fourth with a 1-0 lead, and gave up a run with Jean Segura doubling to left and scoring two outs later on an RBI single by J.T. Realmuto, 1-1.

Maikel Franco walked and Adam Haseley singled to start the Phillies’ fifth, but Sánchez got pinch hitter Brad Miller looking with a 3-2 splitter for out No. 1, and popped Scott Kingery up behind home on a 2-0 cutter, only to have Segura single to right field with two out to drive in the go-ahead run, 2-1. An intentional walk to Bryce Harper loaded the bases, but Rhys Hoskins hit one out to left where Juan Soto caught out No. 3.

J.T. Realmuto lined an 0-1 cutter out to right in the first at bat of the Philly sixth, making it a 3-1 game in the home team’s favor.

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 88 P, 52 S, 2/7 GO/FO.

Arrieta vs the Nationals: Jake Arrieta struggled in seven starts, putting up a 6.63 ERA and a .329/.389/.571 in 38 IP in those outings, before being diagnosed with a “marble-sized” bone spur in his right elbow which the veteran starter said he hoped he could pitch through.

“It could get to a point, and I’m well aware of it, where it’s not manageable anymore,” Arrieta told reporters, as quoted by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Matt Breen this week, “but time will tell. I hope that’s not the case. I don’t think it’s going to be.”

Arrieta took the mound this afternoon in the finale of the second-half-opening series with the Nationals in CBP and tossed three scoreless on 43 pitches, working around a hit, walk, and hit-by-pitch, but a leadoff double by Anthony Rendon and RBI single by Matt Adams in the fourth put the Nats up 1-0.

The Phillies tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, and a scoreless, 17-pitch top of the fifth pushed Arrieta up to 88 pitches, and he was done for the day after his spot came up in the bottom of the fifth inning...

Jake Arrieta’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 88 P, 51 S, 9/0 GO/FO.

Franchise Best: With a 30-11 record in their last 41 going into today’s game, which was the best mark in the majors since May 24, and with wins in 12 of their last 14, 17 of their last 21, and 26 of 36, the Nationals were on a run which was the best in franchise history (2005-present).

The solid stretch took them from 19-31 (the fourth-worst record in the National League) up to 49-42 (the third-best record in the NL), and they had a chance to sweep their divisional rivals, against whom they were 9-4 in the first 13 games this season after five straight wins...

BULLPEN ACTION: José Álvarez worked around a leadoff single, getting a one-out double play out of Matt Adams to end a seven-pitch sixth.

JD Hammer gave up back-to-back, one-out walks to Kurt Suzuki and Victor Robles in the top of the seventh. Howie Kendrick came on to hit in the pitcher’s spot, and sent an RBI single to left, 3-2, and Trea Turner followed with a game-tying line drive to right, 3-3. That was all for Hammer...

Ranger Suárez got a swinging bunt back to the mound from Adam Eaton and out No. 2 when Kendrick was tagged trying to score from third, and popped Anthony Rendon up, keeping it tied at 3-3 after six and half.

Tanner Rainey got the ball for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh, and struck out the side in a 12-pitch frame to keep it a tie game.

Adam Morgan struck out the side in the top of the eighth.

Wander Suero, making his third appearance in three days out of the Break, retired the side in order in an eight-pitch bottom of the eighth.

Hector Neris made it six-straight Ks for the Phillies’ bullpen, striking out the side in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

Matt Grace got one out in the ninth, but a first-pitch fastball up to Maikel Franco went out to left-center for a walk-off winner... 4-3 Phillies.

Nationals now 49-43