Nats sweep the Phillies on great defense and home runs!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The Washington Nationals got to Phillies starter Nick Pivetta early and again at the end of his outing to add to his Nats Park misery with 6 earned runs in 5 1/3 inning which is a 10.19 ERA that actually improved his career ERA against the Nats to 10.80 over 9 career games. It is Pivetta’s worst showing against any team he has faced more than three times, and it happens that these failures come against the team that drafted Pivetta in the 4th round in 2013. Unfortunately,the Nationals starting pitcher, Erick Fedde, was not sharp and had to be pulled in the 4th inning which caused the bullpen to cover 5 1/3 innings in this Nats win.

The difference on the final scoreboard was three runs which the home team tallied on one swing of the bat with two outs by the rookie Victor Robles who sent out a 79.9 mph hanging slider that Robles guided into the Phillies bullpen for the decisive 3-run home run in the 6th inning. There were some Web Gems turned, and defensive plays that saved runs and possibly the game like Trea Turner‘s diving play behind second base in which he popped-up to his feet and threw out the runner at home, and later Turner had a diving stop behind second base that he turned into the front end of a doubleplay with one out that robbed a single that would have put runners at third and first base — and instead ended the inning. There was also the great Adam Eaton play on a single, and he threw a bullet from rightfield to get Bryce Harper out at home with a great diving tag by Kurt Suzuki. Later in the game, Juan Soto made a running catch in the gap.

The Nats were spectacular on defense and for the most part the bullpen was good enough to hold down a 7-4 win for a sweep of the Phillies for the team’s first sweep in a 3-game series this season.

“Throughout the weather, throughout all the hoops that we went through, the boys came to play,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We made some really good plays on defense today. We really did. We’re playing really good baseball.”

The Nats tallied three home runs with a 2-run shot by Suzuki, a solo dinger from Anthony Rendon, and the decisive 3-run smash from rookie Victor Robles who now has eleven home runs this season. The only RBI that did not come from a home run was a double from Juan Soto. The Nats had 10 hits in the game, and Howie Kendrick, Rendon, and Robles had two hits apiece.

Of course it rained during the game, but this time the umpires allowed the game to continue. There was a 30-minute rain delay to start this game, and the Nats got the full game in to finish this one up early enough that the players should get to bed at a decent time. The crowd was large at the beginning of the game at 31,329 and several thousand waited it out through the rain to see the Nats sweep this three game series that was originally shortened from four games after the second game in the series was postponed until September 24th.

With this win the Nationals picked up games on all the teams ahead of them and are now two games under .500 with a 3-game series coming up this weekend with Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow against Dallas Keuchel for the Braves. Since May 24th the Nationals have a .708 winning percentage with 17 wins in 24 games, and the team has a four game winning streak going into Friday’s game.

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