Nola Baffles Nats Bats in Win

It was a drizzly, cold day with the wind blowing and cutting into you like a knife. The unpleasant weather had an impact on the crowd, with very few people streaming into the stadium to watch baseball (there was a Caps playoff game as well). The cold weather also had an impact on the offense as both teams struggled to score runs. The Nationals didn’t. The Phillies waited until the top of the ninth when they rallied for three runs for a 3-0 win.

Tanner Roark was sharp for the Nationals, allowing only two hits in his seven innings of work. Likewise, Aaron Nola mesmerized the Nationals bats with his curveball, limiting them to two hits in his seven innings of work. Neither team could advance a runner to third until the sixth inning when Matt den Dekker walked, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out. Bryce Harper failed to drive him in with a ground out to second for the final out.

Bryce Harper again had the opportunity to win the game in the eighth. A single sandwiched between two walks loaded the bases with two out for Bryce. Elvis Araujo threw three breaking pitches to Bryce, who swung and missed at the latter one to strike out and end what appeared to be the best scoring opportunity for the Nationals. They would not have another opportunity to come to bat with the score tied.

Felipe Rivero came on to pitch the ninth with the score 0-0. Odubel Herrera slapped a 1-2 pitch into centerfield for a single. After fouling off two bunt attempts, Freddy Galvis roped a deep ball into the right centerfield gap where it hit the warning track for a double, Herrera stopping at third. Dusty Baker chose to intentionally walk Maikel Franco to load the bases and bring in Jonathan Papelbon to get out of the inning with no runs scored.

Papelbon got pinch hitter Darin Ruf to strikeout. He worked the count to Cameron Rupp to 2-2. Cameron powered his next pitch to the opposite field, over the head of Bryce Harper. Two runs scored on the double. Papelbon got the next hitter Cesar Hernandez to pop to short. With two outs David Lough bounced one up the middle, off the hand of Papelbon and rolled along the infield for a single to drive in the third run. A hard ground ball to Zimmerman at first base ended the outburst.

The Nationals got a lead off single from Ryan Zimmerman to start the bottom of the ninth. David Murphy got the crowd excited by sending a pitch deep to right field where Peter Bourjos reached above the scoreboard fence to make the catch. Jayson Werth grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Game Notes: The Phillies played a shift on Bryce Harper, playing everyone on the first base side of the second base bag, except Freddy Galvis who stationed himself at third base looking for a bunt. Bryce shot it through the vacated shortstop hole for a single…Odubel Herrera was called safe on a steal of second in the first inning but upon further review they ruled him out…Pedro Severino was catching for the Nationals, getting his first major league start…Ryan Howard broke up the Tanner Roark no hitter by lining a single into right field in the fourth inning.

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