Each team had a TOOTBLAN on the basepaths tonight — but the one committed by the Phillies ended the game as pinch-runner Vince Velasquez who subbed in for Wilson Ramos tagged up with 2-outs in the 9th inning but left early. The Nationals win this game 5-4 for a nice comeback one-run win. The Nationals got Max Scherzer off the hook and Aaron Nola was deprived of his 16th win of the season while tagging a blown-save-loss on Pat Neshek who gave up a 2-run game changing 9th inning home run to Anthony Rendon.
This is why you play to the 27th out. The Nationals not only took advantage of the Phillies TOOTBLAN but also 2 errors that both resulted in 2 unearned runs. The Nationals only had two batters with hits tonight as both Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman had 3-hits each. The Phillies robbed a couple of hits and the Nats certainly were mystified once again by Aaron Nola who departed with a 3-2 lead. The Nats put up 3-runs in the 9th inning, but the Phillies were threatening in the home half of the 9th inning as pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos doubled down the line for an RBI, and the Phillies were still in this game until the TOOTBLAN.
“I was out of the dugout,” manager Dave Martinez said about the botched tag-up. “I saw it as clear as day Good replay call (laughing).”
Sometimes the luck turns and it did tonight, but the real story like last night was the Phillies mistakes on defense and baserunning. The final Nats run scored on a Zimmerman steal of 3rd base, and he scored as Jorge Alfaro airmailed the throw into leftfield.
The Phillies scored their first 3-runs on home runs off of Scherzer and the 4th run never should have scored but Juan Soto got twisted around going back on a ball that went over his head for a double and that was the 4th and final run the Phillies would score in this game. Otherwise, the Nationals defense was great, and they took away 3-hits in shifts tonight.
With Max Scherzer only lasting 5-innings in this game, it was Matt Grace, Jimmy Cordero and Koda Glover who combined for 3 scoreless innings until Justin Miller started the 9th inning and just could not get Wilson Ramos out after a long at-bat. Greg Holland relieved him and got the one flyball plus the TOOTBLAN to earn the unconventional save.
There was also a very erratic strike zone tonight that greatly favored the Phillies. Maybe homeplate umpire Sam Holbrook was fooled by the pitch framing of Jorge Alfaro, but pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds was not buying it and was ejected from the game after 2 questionable strikes that were outside.
“Arguing balls and strikes,” Martinez said. “He thought they were balls, and he got thrown out.”
This comeback win also gives the Nationals a 3-game winning streak, and they move a game over .500 with this win.