PHILADELPHIA — Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit solo homers and Noah Syndergaard pitched well enough into the seventh inning to keep the Philadelphia Phillies in playoff position with a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Phillies reliever Brand Hand failed to earn a save in the ninth when he put two runners on and was pulled for Nick Nelson with two outs. Nelson retired .188 hitter Riley Adams on a grounder to earn his first save in the majors.
The Phillies entered with a grip on the third wild-card spot and each win moves them closer to their first playoff berth since 2011. Bryce Harper got the night off, but even that was OK because the Phillies have Edmundo Sosa. Sosa tripled and scored in his first at-bat and singled in the fifth, marking eight straight times he had reached base, with a home run, double, walk, home run, single, double, triple, single over three games.
Syndergaard (9-9) allowed eight hits and walked none over 86 pitches in six-plus innings. The plus in this instance was a homer to Alex Call to lead off the seventh that brought the Nationals to 4-3. Andrew Bellatti and Jose Alvarado each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Dalton Guthrie, who hit ninth and subbed for Harper in right field, ripped a run-scoring single to right in the third for his first major league hit and RBI. He drove in Sosa, who reached third on a headfirst slide for a triple that continued his torrid pace.
Like most teams this season, the Phillies continued to rough up Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (6-18). Hoskins, who cost the Phillies with a ninth-inning error a night earlier in a loss to the Marlins, hit his 27th homer of the season in the fourth. Alec Bohm nearly made it back-to-back but his deep drive knocked off the top of the right-field wall for a double. Realmuto drove him in for a 3-0 lead on a single up the middle.
Realmuto his 16th homer of the season in the sixth for a 4-2 lead.
Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said Realmuto, drilled with a pitch in his left elbow in the eighth, should be in the MVP conversation.
“Maybe that’s a little bias on my part because I see him every day and I know how important he is to our club,” Thomson said. “He’s had a great year, baserunning, offense, defense, running the pitching staff, running the bullpen. He’s just so valuable to us.”
Philadelphia’s bottom of the order was clutch again when Guthrie, who this week became the 81st former Florida Gator to play in the majors, made it 5-3 in the seventh with an RBI infield single.
Corbin, who had actually won his last two starts, gave up 12 hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Harper had the night off for the first time since he returned two weeks ago from the injured list with a broken left thumb. Harper was hitless in his last seven at-bats and 10 of his last 11.
“I think anybody that comes back from a short rehab stint kind of takes off and then plateaus. Maybe fatigue sets in or whatever,” Thomson said. “So he might be going through a little bit of that.”
First lady Jill Biden attended the game to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Night. Biden joined children ages 4-15 from the Delaware Valley area receiving or who had received treatment for cancer. The kids were recognized on the field during pre-game ceremonies.
Nationals: C Keibert Ruiz was placed on the 10-day injured list with a testicular contusion and, quite understandably, his season might be over. Ruiz took one where it hurts most in Thursday’s game – his plight even made TMZ – and stayed in St. Louis, though he was set to join his teammates in Philadelphia. Manager Davey Martinez said Ruiz was instructed to avoid strenuous activity for three weeks.
Phillies: RHP Seranthony Domínguez (right triceps tendinitis) could return Saturday to bolster a creaky bullpen after he threw a scoreless inning in a minor league rehab stint on Thursday. RHP Zach Eflin (right knee) struck out three in two innings in a rehab start Friday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Nationals send Erick Fedde (6-9, 5.08 ERA) to the mound against LHP Ranger Suarez (8-5, 3.52).
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