Paolo Espino made his first big league start since 2017. Juan Soto hit his first home run since August 31st. Washington’s Nationals led 6-3 after four, but the Philadelphia Phillies, who are in a fight for a postseason berth, rallied to tie it with two in the fifth and one in the sixth, and it went to extras tied at 6-6 where a Brock Holt throwing error on a Roman Quinn bunt, with Phil Gosselin on at second, allowed the go-ahead run to score, 7-6 Phillies ...
But Yadiel Herandez hit a two-run, walk-off home run to beat the Phillies, 8-7 final in extras.
Espino vs PHI: Paolo Espino, 33, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with Texas before he got the nod from manager Davey Martinez to start today. Espino pitched at Triple-A Fresno as a starter in 2019, going (8-4) with a 5.65 ERA, 24 walks, and 93 Ks in 92 1⁄3 IP for the club’s top minor league affiliate.
Back on the mound in the majors for the first time in three years, Espino, who spent the last few months working at the Nationals’ Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA, started with a scoreless first in which he worked around a leadoff hit by Andrew McCutchen with a little help from Andrew Stevenson in left, who made a leaping grab to rob Bryce Harper of extra bases.
Didi Gregorius doubled to left to start the second, however, and scored on an RBI single to center by Andrew Knapp, who moved up on a groundout and scored on an 2-out RBI hit by Roman Quinn, 2-0.
Espino got a 4-6-3 DP out of Gregorius after giving up leadoff and one-out singles in the top of the third, and he came back out for the top of the fourth, with a 4-2 lead, and retired the first two batters he faced before hanging a curve that Scott Kingery hit out to left field for a solo shot that made it a one-run game, 4-3.
Paolo Espino’s Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 66 P, 41 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Hale vs D.C.: David Hale gave up a run on two hits in the second of back-to-back relief appearances in the first series of the season between the Nationals and Yankees in July.
Dealt to the Phillies in advance of the trade deadline in August, Hale took the mound five times, once as a starter, before he was called upon to start again tonight in the nightcap of the doubleheader in Nationals Park.
Hale tossed a scoreless, 11-pitch frame as the opener, apparently, before he was replaced on the mound...
BULLPEN ACTION: Adam Morgan came on in the second for the Phillies, with a 2-0 lead, and retired the side in order in a 13-pitch frame.
Morgan got the first out of the Nationals’ fourth before manager Joe Girardi went to the bullpen again for right-hander David Phelps, who promptly surrendered a double off the out-of-town scoreboard in right and an RBI single by Andrew Stevenson, 2-1 Phillies. And that’s a 7-game hit streak for Stevenson.
Trea Turner singled off Phelps as well, so the Phillies brought JoJo Romero on to face Juan Soto with two on and one out, and Soto hit a three-run blast to left on a 94 MPH first-pitch sinker, 4-2 Nationals.
Romero returned to the mound in the bottom of the fourth, and walked Eric Thames to start the inning, before giving up an opposite field, RBI double by Yadiel Hernandez, 5-3, and 6-3 on an RBI triple to right by Stevenson that brought Hernandez around.
Tommy Hunter came on and walked Trea Turner to put two on with one out, but he stranded both runners.
Kyle McGowin took over for Paolo Espino in the top of the fifth and walked the first batter, Andrew McCutchen, then gave up a single to center by Alec Bohm before he struck out Bryce Harper and got out No. 2 on a hard-hit liner to lefty by J.T. Realmuto that a sprinting Andrew Stevenson ran down.
Wander Suero came on at that point with two on and two out, and gave up a two-run double on the first pitch he threw to Didi Gregorius, 6-5 Nationals after four and a half.
Hunter worked around a HBP in a scoreless bottom of the fifth.
Suero hit Roman Quinn with one out in the top of the sixth. Quinn promptly stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Andrew McCutchen K’d swinging feebly at a 1-2 cutter up high for out No. 2, however, but Suero’s second walk of the game put Alec Bohm on as well, in front of Bryce Harper, who fell behind 1-2, but worked the count full and walked to load the bases.
Kyle Finnegan came on with the bases loaded and two out against J.T. Realmuto, and got a grounder up the middle that a range-y Trea Turner got before throwing high to first base... forcing Eric Thames to come off the bag, 6-6 after five and a half.
Héctor Neris got three ground ball outs in a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.
Jean Segura singled off Finnegan to lead off the top of the seventh, but was doubled up on a 4-6-3 twin killing off Andrew Knapp’s bat, and a Jay Bruce groundout ended the frame.
Neris came back out for the bottom of the seventh and walked Juan Soto to start the inning, but stranded him three outs later to send it to extras.
Daniel Hudson came out for the top of the eighth, with Phil Gosselin at second base, and Roman Quinn bunted to third where Brock Holt fielded it and threw way over first, letting Gosselin score, 7-6 Phillies.
Bunting on the first pitch of the inning and a run scores!— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 23, 2020
So 2020. pic.twitter.com/HQQQS8w2TD
Walks to Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper loaded the bases with one out, but J.T. Realmuto K’d swinging for out No. 2, and Didi Gregorius popped out to end the inning.
Brandon Workman came on with a one-run lead and a runner (Luis García) on second and got one out before he gave up a two-run home run to right by Yadiel Hernandez, who hit one out to lift the Nationals to the win... bat-flipping, walk-off, first MLB HR. Nice, Yadi...
IT'S. YADIEL. BAT. FLIPPING. SEASON. pic.twitter.com/WW5PSI4O3g— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) September 23, 2020
Final Score: 8-7 Nationals
Nationals now 23-32