Taylor’s big night helps Nationals edge Phillies
WASHINGTON -- The last time a player in the major leagues hit an inside-the-park grand slam it was Michael A. Taylor who was playing center field at Nationals Park.
Aaron Altherr of the Phillies, in 2015, hit a line shot to center that got past Taylor as Altherr rounded the bases.
Taylor got some revenge Friday, as he lined a ball over the head of Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera with the bases loaded in the third inning. Herrera jumped for the ball but it was just out of reach and Taylor beat the throw to home for a grand slam in the Nationals’ exciting 11-10 win over the Phillies.
“He can do everything on the field,” Washington shortstop Trea Turner said of Taylor. “He works at it so he can be that kind of player.”
Taylor had four hits and a career-high five RBIs, and Turner had three hits and three RBIs as Washington cut its magic number to clinch the division to three while the second-place Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Friday.
“That was pretty cool,” Taylor said of the slam. “I was thinking four the whole way. I was pretty tired.”
“A pretty neat play,” Turner said of the slam. “Pretty crazy. I am just glad it was on our side.”
Taylor also threw out Nick Williams (four hits) at the plate from center field in the seventh to keep the score at 10-7. Taylor, who fell a double short of the cycle, then had an RBI triple in the eighth to make it 11-7.
“He did everything tonight. That was just great,” Washington starter and winner Max Scherzer said of the Taylor homer.
Maikel Franco ripped a three-run homer in the ninth off Shawn Kelley to pull the Phillies to within 11-10. Sean Doolittle came in to get the last three outs for his 17th save with the Nationals.
“Every win is really, really important,” Doolittle said.
The first-place Nationals (87-54) won their fifth game in a row while the Phillies (53-88) have the worst record in the majors.
“We made him throw a lot of pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Scherzer. “We scored 10 runs. You like to win a game when you score 10 runs.”
Scherzer (14-5) gave up six hits and four runs with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. Jake Thompson (1-2) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings.
Turner hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Yacksel Rios for a 9-4 advantage and Ryan Zimmerman (two hits) had an RBI single to make it 10-4.
Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run homer off Oliver Perez in the seventh to trim the lead to 10-7. It was the 13th homer in 29 games for Hoskins.
Herrera extended his hitting streak to 21 games with an infield single in the seventh. J.P. Crawford had an RBI double in the sixth to make it 7-4.
There was plenty of excitement early on as the Nationals scored in each of the first four innings.
The Taylor grand slam in the third gave Washington a 6-3 lead and was his career-high 15th longball. The Nationals made it 7-3 in the fourth as Turner scored on a double play grounder.
Taylor helped alleviate a poor start for Scherzer, who went just five innings in his previous outing in Milwaukee on Saturday after he was hit in the calf on a liner by Travis Shaw.
Scherzer allowed Williams’ three-run homer to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead. It was the 10th homer of the year for Williams, who came through after two walks by Scherzer earlier in the frame.
“I just missed locations. I felt good. It is the walks that drive me nuts,” Scherzer said. “I can’t allow free passes. That is on me.”
Zimmerman and Turner hit RBI singles to make it a one-run game in the second.
“It was good to see those home runs. Williams (had) four hits. I like his aggressiveness at the plate,” Mackanin said. “There are a lot of good things in the game today. We are playing hard.”
The last time a player in the Montreal/Washington franchise had an inside-the-park grand slam Mackanin scored on the play. That was in 1976 when Bombo Rivera of the Expos hit the grand slam that scored Mackanin, Rivera and two teammates.
NOTES: Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman was recognized before the game as the Nationals Roberto Clemente Award nominee for this season. ... Washington OF Jayson Werth missed his second game in a row as he deals with a sore shoulder, according to manager Dusty Baker. ... Phillies INF J.P. Crawford had his first major league extra-base hit and RBI with his double. ... INF Adrian Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse by the Nationals before the game.