Nats Steal One from Phillies

Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth the Nationals scored two in each inning to steal a win from the Philadelphia Phillies. They took advantage of four walks, a hit batsman and an error to eliminate the deficit. Wilmer Difo took advantage of the two man outfield driving a pitch to centerfield to drive in the game winner.

Max Scherzer deserved to get a win in this game. He struck out 15 in just 6.1 innings. Unfortunately all those strikeouts drove up his pitch count and after he struck out Jorge Alfaro with his 111th pitch Dave Martinez came out to pull him. At the time the Nationals were ahead 1-0. The bullpen was ineffective, giving up four runs.

Jake Arrieta pitched well for the Phillies. In the second inning Matt Adams led off with a drive over the right field bullpen into the second deck. It was the second time in three days he had provided a souvenir to the fans in that area. Jake gave up a single to Andrew Stevenson later in the second inning, but did not allow another hit through six innings. The Phillies pinch hit for him in the seventh inning.

Between the second and fourth inning Max Scherzer had struck out seven in a row. In the seventh he gave up a leadoff single to Pedro Florimon. After a stolen base and strikeout the lefty swinging Nick Williams was announced as a pinch hitter for Arrieta. Martinez chose to go with the lefthander Sammy Solis.

Solis got ahead in the count 1-2 but Nick Williams blooped the next pitch into centerfield. It was enough to score Pedro Florimon from second, stealing the win away from Scherzer. Brandon Kintzler was asked to get out of the inning, but with two out Rhys Hoskins drove a 1-2 pitch into left centerfield for a double, Williams scoring on the hit. Hoskins had struck out in all three of his at bats against Scherzer. Odubel Herrera chopped a slow single up the middle to score Hoskins. With the anemic Nationals bats the 3-1 deficit appeared daunting.

Maikel Franco made it tougher by driving a ball into the left field bullpen off Carlos Torres for a 4-1 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, after a Michael Taylor strike out Luis Garcia walked pinch hitter Moises Sierra. That brought in Tommy Hunter to close out the inning. He walked Wilmer Difo but had to face Bryce Harper, who represented the tying run. He got Harper to swing and miss for strike three. Trea Turner had a check swing grounder that rolled to second, but beat the throw to first to load the bases. Anthony Rendon, a day back from the disabled list bounced a single through the third base hole to drive in two. Hunter threw a pitch to the back stop to put the winning run at second, but he struck out Matt Adams on a pitch in the dirt for the third out.

The Phillies closer Hector Neris came on for the ninth. Matt Wieters bounced one to short right field, beating the throw by Florimon. Rafael Bautista pinch ran for him and got the attention of Neris. After a couple throws to first he made one too many, bouncing a throw past Carlos Santana. Bautista streaked around second and slid into third representing the tying run with no out. Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch and Michael Taylor walked to load the bases. Ryan Zimmerman stood in the on deck circle as a pinch hitter during the Taylor at bat. After Taylor walked Pedro Severino was announced to pinch hit for the pitcher. The day before Severino walked in all three of his at bats. He made it four in a row, Bautista scoring on the free pass to tie the game. With the bases loaded and no outs Kapler stacked the infield with five players, settling for only two outfielders. Difo took a pitch for a ball and then drove the next pitch up the gut in center to drive in the go ahead run.

Game Notes: Ryan Zimmerman indicates he should be healthy for the game Monday, but if he could not pinch hit in a crucial situation in today’s game myworld would be surprised to see Zimmerman play. His injuries tend to stretch out until it makes more sense to put him on the disabled list…Jorge Alfaro made back to back throws to second, gunning down both Andrew Stevenson and Michael Taylor at second base. His throw to second to get Stevenson was clocked at 88.2 miles per hour, the second fastest time for a throw to second. He holds the top spot with the hardest throw (90.1). Alfaro still has problems making contact, striking out three times today, all of them against Scherzer…After Howie Kendrick pinch hit for Stevenson it was Matt Adams who went out to left field and Howie Kendrick played first. Last year Howie played a number of games in left field…Scherzer became the first pitcher to strike out 15 hitters in 6.1 innings. If not for pitch counts he could have broken a record he shares with five other pitchers of 20 K’s in a nine inning game.

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