Joe Ross was rolling along, retiring the first ten batters he faced this afternoon, but an error, hit-by-pitch, RBI single, and, one out later, a three-run home run followed as Philadelphia put four runs up on the Washington Nationals’ starter in the fourth and cruised to a 5-2 win that evened things up in the three-game set in the Phillies’ home. Rubber match tomorrow, 1:05 PM ET.
Ross vs the Phillies: Joe Ross was winless in six May starts (0-4) with a 6.00 ERA, 15 walks, 29 Ks, and a .255/.352/.415 line against in 27 IP in an up and down month for the Nationals’ 28-year-old right-hander, who got off to a strong start this season but has had fairly mixed results since.
Taking on the Phillies for the first time this season, Ross retired the first ten batters that he faced, on 36 pitches, but an error by Josh Bell on a Jean Segura grounder, and a HBP on a slider to Bryce Harper on an 0-2 pitch put two runners on without a hit. Rhys Hoskins hit a 94 MPH 0-2 sinker to short center in the next at bat, and it fell in for the first hit off of Ross, and tied things up at 1-1 after the Nationals jumped out to an early lead.
One out later, Andrew McCutchen sat on and got a first-pitch slider and hit it out to left for a three-run blast and a 4-1 Phillies’ lead.
Ross worked around back-to-back, two-out walks for a scoreless fifth, and came back out in the sixth and worked around a one-out single by J.T. Realmuto, with a slick strike’em out and throw’em out double play ending a 17-pitch frame which left him at 92 pitches total.
Joe Ross’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 92 P, 58 S, 6/5 GO/FO.
Howard vs the Nationals: Spencer Howard, the Phillies’ 2017 2nd Round pick, made three appearances out of the bullpen in April, with the club attempting to limit his innings after he dealt with injuries the past few seasons, but when Matt Moore went on the IL back on May 22nd, the right-hander was called back up to start for the club.
In two outings back in the majors before today, the right-hander threw seven innings total, with a 3.86 ERA and a .130/.344/.217 line against, as the Phils are building him up slowly.
“There’s a progression,” Phillies’ manager Joe Girardi said, as quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer last week. “Slowly build him up and try to keep him going as a starter.”
This afternoon’s outing was another relatively brief one for Howard, as the righty tossed 2 1⁄3 innings, working around walks in each of the first two frames before giving up a leadoff single by Joe Ross, who was forced out at second on a Trea Turner grounder, and a one-out hit-by-pitch, on Josh Harrison, before the starter was done for the day, at 48 total pitches...
Spencer Howard’s Line: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 48 P, 26 S, 3/0 GO/FO.
Congrats, Davey: “With Friday night’s win,” the Nationals mentioned in their pregame notes before today’s game, “[manager] Dave Martinez passed Davey Johnson (2011-2013) for the most managerial wins in Nationals’ history (2005-pres.) with 225.” He’ll have to wait another day (at least) for No. 226, but before today’s game, Martinez said he obviously could not get to that milestone on his own and he took time to thank everyone who helped him.
“Last night it was nice, I sat around with the coaches, we talked a lot, and I thanked them for all they do,” he said.
“They don’t get the love that they deserve, but they help me through and through, every day, the training staff, everybody in this organization. I thanked the Lerner family, [GM Mike] Rizzo, everybody who supported me and has been behind me. That’s what it’s all about. For me, this is a big family to me, we stick together, so for all of us we’ve got 225 wins, so, and today is just another day, try to go 1-0 today and win our day.”
Bullpen Action: Phillies’ lefty Ranger Suárez took over on the mound with runners on first and third and one out in the third and got a grounder up the middle from Juan Soto that looked like a potential double play ball, but it went right through Jean Segura’s legs and into center field, allowing Trea Turner to score from second for a 1-0 lead after two and a half.
Suárez worked around a two-out error on a Victor Robles’ grounder for a scoreless fourth to keep it a 1-0 game in the Nationals’ favor, and after the Phillies went up 4-1 in the bottom of the inning, the southpaw worked around a HBP on Josh Harrison in a scoreless fifth and got one out in the sixth before the home team went to to the pen again.
Archie Bradley took over with one out in the Nationals’ half of the sixth, and recorded two quick outs.
Sam Coonrod came on for the Phillies in the top of the seventh inning and gave up a one-out double to left field by Trea Turner, who connected for what was just the Nats’ second hit of the game. Josh Harrison walked in the next at bat. José Alvarado took over for Philly there and got an inning-ending double play out of Juan Soto. 4-6-3. Still 4-1 Phillies.
Kyle McGowin retired the Phillies in order in a 13-pitch seventh.
Josh Bell crushed a 99 MPH 2-2 sinker from Alvarado in the first at bat of the eighth, and hit a home run to left to make it a two-run game, 4-2 Phils, but the Nats ended up stranding a couple runners after a walk by Kyle Schwarber and a single by Starlin Castro followed Bell’s blast.
“Every Day” Sam Clay gave up back-to-back singles by Odubel Herrera and Jean Segura in the first two at bats of the Philly eighth. Bryce Harper followed with the third straight hit, an RBI single to center, 5-2.
Kyle Finnegan took over on the mound with the Nationals down by three and stranded the two runners he inherited.
Connor Brogdon got the ninth for the Phillies and retired the side in order to end it.
Final Score: 5-2 Phillies
Nationals now 24-31