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Washington Nationals blow lead in 9th, swept in four-game set by Philadelphia Phillies, 7-6 final...

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Kyle Finnegan couldn’t hold the lead, and a four-run ninth gave the Phillies a four-game sweep in Nationals Park...

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Josh Bell’s seventh home run in his last 14 hits was a three-run blast in the fifth inning today, which broke up a 2-2 tie, and the Washington Nationals took a 5-3 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies into the ninth, where Kyle Finnegan blew the save and gave up four runs.

Final score: 7-6 Phillies, and the Phils swept the four-game set in D.C. with the win.

Ross vs the Phillies: Joe Ross tossed five scoreless innings against the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park in his return from an IL stint for inflammation in his right elbow, and the 28-year-old right-hander followed up on that outing with a 4 13-inning start against the Cubs which saw him give up seven hits and five runs, four earned, in a 6-3 loss in Nationals Park.

Those two outings continued a trend of inconsistent outings for Ross, who said he’s still working on trying to be more consistent start-to-start.

As for what he needs to do to get there?

“I mean, just got to start executing better I think in situations where guys are on early, less than two outs. Maybe slightly better pitch selection.”

“I don’t have all the answers for that, but I’m just going to go out there, keep competing, and I feel pretty good with where I’m at right now.”

How’d he do today?

Ross retired the side in order in a quick, nine-pitch first, but gave up a leadoff single, two-out walk, and two-out RBI single in the second, with Rhys Hoskins singling, moving up on the walk to Odubel Herrera, and scoring on the two-out hit by Ronald Torreyes, 1-0 Philly.

The Phillies added another run in the third, on Bryce Harper’s 18th home run of the season, but Ross held the visitors there through six, as the Nationals tied it up with two runs in the fourth and went up on a three-run blast by Josh Bell in the fifth, 5-2.

In spite of a hit-by-pitch when he squared to bunt in the bottom of the seventh, Ross came back out for the top of the seventh at 75 pitches and gave up a one-out double and an RBI single, by Alec Bohm and Odubel Herrera, respectively, as the Phillies cut into the lead and knocked the Nats’ starter out, 5-3 Nationals...

All that happened after Juan Soto pulled a homer back into play:

Joe Ross’s Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 84 P, 55 S, 2/4 GO/FO.

Nola vs the Nationals: Aaron Nola, 28, gave up 22 hits and 15 runs in three starts and 16 IP in a three-start stretch between June 30th and July 20th, over which opposing hitters put up a .314/.329/.586 line against the right-hander, but the Phillies’ 28-year-old starter rebounded in two starts which followed, before he took on the Nationals tonight, with the 2014 Phillies’ first round pick giving up a run on four hits in 8 23 IP against the Braves, then holding the Pirates to two runs on three hits in six innings of work last time out before tonight.

Nola tossed a scoreless first in his first inning of work against the Phillies’ NL East rivals this season, in the 16th game between the two teams, and he took the mound with a 1-0 lead in the second, and worked around a double and an error, before striking out two in a 1-2-3 third which left him at 47 pitches overall in three scoreless.

Juan Soto walked to start the fourth, however, and he took third base on a Josh Bell single in the next at bat, before scoring one out later on an RBI single by Carter Kieboom, 2-1, and a walk to Luis García loaded the bases with Nationals before a HBP on Tres Barrera forced the tying run in, 2-2.

Alcides Escobar singled and Soto walked again in the fifth, and Josh Bell stepped in next and lined a hanging 1-2 curve to center for a three-run blast and a 5-2 lead. Bell’s 19th of 2021. Nola ended up throwing 52 pitches between the fourth and fifth and was done after 99 total in six innings.

Aaron Nola’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 99 P, 63 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

Ring That Bell: Over his last 16 games going into the series finale with the Phillies today, Josh Bell was 12 for 54 (.222/.276/.593), though six of those 12 hits were home runs.

Bell, 28, hit one out a long way to center field in the second of four with the Phils, and in the fifth inning tonight, he hit a three-run blast for his 14th hit in the last 17 games (after singling in his second PA of the night), with seven home runs in his last 14 hits.

Bullpen Action: Enyel De Los Santos popped Tres Barrera up to start the bottom of the sixth, but Ronald Torreyes just dropped it, then the Philly righty hit Joe Ross on the left hand as the Nationals’ starter squared to bunt, but Ross was forced out at second on a ground ball off Victor Robles’s bat, and Robles got picked off first before Alcides Escobar grounded out to short to end the threat.

Ryne Harper took over for the Nationals with a runner on first and one out in the Phillies’ half of the seventh, and popped up Ronald Torreyes before giving up back-to-back, two-out free passes that loaded the bases in front of J.T. Realmuto, who popped out to right field to leave the bases loaded. Still 5-3 Nationals.

José Alvarado got the bottom of the seventh for the Phillies, and the lefty worked out of a two-on, two out jam, with help from the Phils’ defense, on an out at the plate, when Yadiel Hernández tried to score on a Luis García single up the middle. Still 5-3 Nats after seven in D.C.

Ryne Harper got Bryce Harper to line out to right for the first out of the eighth before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for righty Mason Thompson, who popped up Didi Gregorius and struck out Alex Bohm to end the inning.

Kyle Finnegan came on in the ninth with a 5-3 lead and the first two Phillies reached base, with Obubel Herrera doubling to center and Ronald Torreyes reaching on a ground ball to third that Carter Kieboom fielded before throwing high to first. E:5. Finnegan struck Jean Segura out for out No. 1, and Travis Jankowski sent a grounder to third for out No. 2.

Then J.T. Realmuto stepped in and got up 3-0, and went to 3-2 before lining a game-tying double into the right-center gap to tie it up at 5-5. Bryce Harper got the intentionals, and Rhys Hoskins came up and doubled to left to drive in two more, 7-5.

Archie Bradley got the save opportunity for the Phillies and gave up a one-out double to right by Juan Soto, who scored on a Josh Bell grounder up the middle that bounced off second base, before Didi Gregorius threw one by first trying for the out. Soto scored, 7-6.

Bell took second, and Yadiel Hernández stepped up and lined out to left for out No. 2, and Carter Kieboom grounded back to the mound to end it.

Final Score: 7-6 Phillies

Nationals now 49-60