Nationals storm back to beat Phillies
WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals arrived back home around 3 a.m. Thursday after a three-game series in Miami.
And with Hurricane Irma bearing down on their native state, two young Nationals from Florida were able to put the storm on the back burner for a few hours Thursday night.
Trea Turner had a go-ahead, two-run single in the last of the sixth inning and Michael A. Taylor made a home run-saving catch in the top of the seventh as the Nationals came back for a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“He threw two tough pitches the first two,” Turner said of reliever Adam Morgan. “I felt like I had some pitches to hit (early in the game) and didn’t capitalize. I put a decent swing on it.”
Taylor made a leaping catch on the warning track on a ball hit by Andres Blanco to lead off the seventh that could have tied the score. Washington reliever Brandon Kintzler, who had just entered the game, tipped his cap toward Taylor after the catch.
“Michael Taylor saved the game on that home run he took away,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.
The Phillies played the Nationals tough in the spring, going 5-7 in the first four series of the year between the teams. But Washington trimmed its magic number to four as the Marlins lost 6-5 in Atlanta to the Braves.
“We had opportunities to add on, but we didn’t cash in,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The first-place Nationals (86-54) posted their fourth win in a row. The Phillies (53-87) are 2-5 in Washington this year.
Matt Wieters hit an RBI double to chase Phillies starter Aaron Nola in the sixth and cut the Nationals’ deficit to 3-2. Three batters later, Turner hit a two-run single up the middle off Morgan (3-2) with the bases loaded to give Washington the lead.
“He pitched well enough to win,” Mackanin said of Nola. “We just didn’t score enough runs. He was not at his best; we have seen him a lot better. He did OK.”
Roark (12-9) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Kintzler and Ryan Madson each pitched a scoreless inning in relief before Sean Doolittle worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save with the Nationals.
Adam Lind was 2-for-3 for Washington, as was Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera.
Nola gave up three runs (two earned) with eight strikeouts and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. Morgan allowed two hits and one run in 1 2/3 innings.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Alejandro De Aza.
The Phillies responded in the third as catcher Jorge Alfaro led off with a solo homer to make it 1-1. It was just the second homer in 75 career at-bats for Alfaro, who was hitting in the No. 8 hole in front of Nola.
“We were on the same page pretty much the whole time. It’s always good to throw with multiple catchers to let them see how you work,” Nola said of throwing to Alfaro for the first time.
Tommy Joseph hit another solo homer for the Phillies, giving his team a 2-1 lead in the fourth as his 21st long ball down the left field line was just fair and about two rows deep.
“A towering home run. I think it was higher than it was far,” Mackanin said.
Freddy Galvis gave Philadelphia a 3-1 edge with an RBI single in the fifth.
Nola got out a jam in the fifth when Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Herrera extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a double in the third that Lind, normally a first baseman, nearly caught. It is the longest hitting streak in the majors this year.
But the Nationals inched closer to the division title.
“We got in at 3, 4 in the morning. You have to play the game hard and take it one day at a time,” Roark said.
NOTES: The Nationals called up top prospect and OF Victor Robles from Double-A Harrisburg and he flied out in his first major league at-bat in the seventh inning. Washington also recalled OFs Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals moved RHP Erick Fedde (right forearm flexor strain) to the 60-day disabled list. ... Phillies RHP Jake Thompson (1-1, 4.50) is slated to face Washington RHP Max Scherzer (13-5, 2.19) on Friday. ... Philadelphia INF J.P. Crawford played in his third major league game, again at third base. Phillies 3B Maikel Franco was not in the starting lineup, but manager Pete Mackanin said he expects Franco will start Saturday. Franco struck out as a pinch hitter Thursday.