On a cool night in Washington, the Nationals struggled to produce in front of their home crowd, resulting in a 3-0 loss to the Phillies. It was the Nationals second loss in a row and the first time this season that they have managed to be shut-out.
Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson (2-1) had an impressive outing, only allowing two hits over the course of seven innings and striking out eight. He appeared to be calm and unbothered by the chilly temperature and drizzles that were inevitably a part of last night’s contest. Nationals 2B Danny Espinosa spoke highly of Hellickson after the game. “He’s constantly changing speeds”, Espinosa voiced. “That changeup’s got a string on it. That thing stops.” Hellickson also had a monster fourth inning where he was able to record three straight K’s against reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy. The Phillies and Hellickson successfully stuck to their gameplan for Harper, who went 0-2 and was walked twice. Jeanmar Gomez later sealed the deal for Philadelphia by pitching a perfect ninth inning and recording his sixth save on the season.
Nationals starter, Gio Gonzalez (1-1) also dealt a good game until the sixth inning when things started to fall apart for the 30 year old lefthander. A single, walk, and a wild pitch led to a sacrifice fly from Darin Ruf and a 1-0 lead for Philadelphia. The Phillies then increased that lead to 2-0 when an unearned run scored due to an overthrow at home plate by Washington 3B Anthony Rendon. Carlos Ruiz added a solo home run in the eighth inning to put the Phillies ahead 3-0.
With the victory, the Phillies have moved to 11-10 on the season, a single game over .500. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was proud of his team’s performance last night and told the media what his plans are moving forward. “People have asked me what my goal is for this year, knowing the type of team we have, and my goal is to try to play .500”, Mackanin said, “and we’ll go from there, depending on what transpires.”
The Phillies will try to complete a three-game sweep when they take the field against the Nationals today. Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (1-2 4.50 ERA) will take the mound for Philadelphia while RHP Tanner Roark (2-2 2.63 ERA) will start for Washington. Coverage starts at 4:05 PM ET.