After a disappointing end to the Chicago road trip, the Phillies came back home to take on the Washington Nationals. Both starter's in tonight's ballgame were coming off dominating performances against the opposing club the last time they faced them. Tonight, both Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg continued their stellar pitching.
In the first inning, it didn't seem like we'd see a very low scoring game. With the first two quickly set aside, Ryan Zimmerman came up to face Hamels. After looking at two strikes, and fouling the next two off, Zimmerman rocketed a long ball into the bend in center feet, a solo homerun that traveled just over 400 feet to give the Nationals an early 1-0 advantage. Hamels, though, would settle in, striking out five through the first three innings.
Aside from Hamels' pitching, Carlos Ruiz' bat would be a major factor in the contest. After he led off the fourth with a walk, Jimmy Rollins would advance to second on catcher Wilson Ramos' attempt to pick him off, a throw that would end up behind Ramos. Ruiz would then record the first hit of the game or the Phillies against Strasburg, a one out single to center field. Rollins, who was running on the pitch, scored and tied the game at 1 a piece.
That would be the only scoring off either starter. Strasburg went six, while Hamels went seven, neither giving up more than two hits and combining for 18 strikeouts. The eighth inning saw both bullpen's surrender their respective team's lead. In that frame, Justin De Fratus came on for Hamels. He gave up a single to Anthony Rendon, followed by a walk to Chad Tracy. Ceasar Jimenez then came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases for Scott Hairston. A fly ball to center field was caught by Cesar Hernandez, but the throw was not in time, and the Nats took a 2-1 lead.
Tyler Clippard looked to close the Phillies out in the bottom half of the inning. He started off well, getting Roger Bernadina to roll a ball over to second and having Darin Ruf pop out to Ian Desmond at short. Cesar Hernandez was up next, and he walked to give Jimmy Rollins an opportunity. After a tough at bat the saw eight pitches thrown, Rollins just missed homering, instead doubling off the top of the right-center field wall to score Hernandez. Chase Utley stood in next, and after the first two pitches missed, Washington decided to intentionally walk him. Carlos Ruiz stood in once again, and once again delivered. a single lined to Harper in left had just enough on it to allow Rollins to score and give Philly the 3-2 lead. In case your wondering, here's a Vine of Chooch's hit: https://vine.co/v/h5QMUB1UZI3
Jonathan Papelbon would come in to close it out in the ninth. Following a Jayson Werth fly out, Papelbon allowed Desmond and Adam LaRoche each to single, putting runners on the corners with one away. He would then settle in and strike out the next two batters to end the ball game and hand the Phillies a 3-2 victory. It was an entertaining game for those in attendance and at home, with top-of-the-line pitching and late scoring. Tomorrow, the series will continue when Gio Gonzalez looks to defeat Ethan Martin at 7:05.