MICHAEL BRYANT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER – Philly.com
The Philadelphia Phillies welcomed the red hot Washington Nationals to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game series this weekend. The Phils did not start off the series on the right foot, but they sure ended it on the right one.
Washington started off running on Friday as they broke open the game in the first inning. The Nationals were able to score five runs off of Phils starter Jeremy Hellickson the first frame. Hellickson only last three innings and gave up six runs, five earned. The Nationals were able to add on three more runs off of reliever Brett Oberholtzer. Philadelphia was only able to muster four hits the entire game. One of those was a solo home run off of Ryan Howard’s bat in the ninth inning to represent the Phils lone run of the game. Nationals starter Joe Ross notched his second win of the season as Washington beat the Phillies, 8-1. Notable is Nationals centerfielder Michael Taylor. The former Phillies prospect lead off the game with a home run.
While Saturday’s matchup on paper looked like a pitching duel, it was almost a direct replica of Friday’s game. The Nats started off with a three spot against Phillies starter Aaron Nola. Nola made it through five innings while conceding seven earned runs. Nationals starter Max Scherzer was brilliant has he went seven innings deep and gave up only one run, a solo shot from Phils catcher Cameron Rupp in the fifth inning. The Nats tacked on one more run in the ninth inning, once against beating Philadelphia to a score of 8-1.
The Phillies were determined to end their two game losing streak and avoid being swept at home against the Nationals. For the first time all weekend, the Phillies were in the lead after a solo home run from Carlos Ruiz in the second inning. Both of today’s starters pitched nearly flawlessly. Former Phil, and current Washington pitcher, Gio Gonzalez pitched seven solid innings with his only blemish being the Ruiz home run. Phils starter Charlie Morton matched Gonzalez almost pitch for pitch, going six innings and giving up one run. The game remain tied 1-1 through the ninth inning and into extra innings. This was the first extra inning game for Philadelphia this season. In Jeanmar Gomez’s second inning of work, he gave up a home run to the Nationals phenom, Bryce Harper to give the Nats the 2-1 lead. For the bottom of the 10th inning the Nationals called to their closer and a Phillies (not so) fan favorite, former Phil Jonathon Papelbon. With two outs, Andres Blanco tied the game 2-2 with a RBI single to bring home Peter Bourjos. Next batter Freddy Galvis took advantage of a rattled Papelbon and hit a double over the head of Jayson Werth, scoring Blanco and salvaging the weekend series.
The Phillies hope to make this a winning streak as they welcome the New York Mets to Citizens Bank Park for the first time in 2016. The first game of the three game series starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.