Nationals slam three homers, but Phils rally for win
PHILADELPHIA Lefty pitcher Gio Gonzalez has made 10 starts away from home since early June, from the humidity of Atlanta to north-of-the-border Toronto to the rival cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
And each time the result has been the same, with Gonzalez failing to add a victory to his win total. That trend continued Wednesday, as the Nationals starter allowed six runs in five innings but was not involved in the decision as Philadelphia rallied for an 8-6 win.
Jose Bautista of the Phillies, acquired from the Mets on Tuesday, drove in the go-ahead run in the last of the seventh off Washington reliever Jimmy Cordero to make it 7-6. The hosts added a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Rhys Hoskins off reliever Wander Suero.
Washington (67-67) is now 4 games back of the second-place Phillies (71-62) in the National League East. The third-place Nationals, who began the day eight games behind first-place Atlanta, got homers from Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon but still lost.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who has been under the weather for several days, did not start but pinch-hit in the eighth and walked. “He’s sick. Bad cough. It sounds awful,” said manager Dave Martinez.
Gonzalez (7-11 this year) is now 0-7 with three no-decisions in his last 10 starts on the road. Overall the Nationals had lost 11 of his previous 13 starts overall, with his only victory at home August 9.
There is a chance this could have been the last game with the Nationals for Gonzalez, who joined the team in 2012. USA Today on Wednesday speculated that Gonzalez could be traded by the end of this week. Friday is the last day a player can be contracted to an organization to be part of the postseason roster.
Things came apart in the fifth for Gonzalez, who gave up two singles and walk to load the bases before Carlos Santana hit a grand slam as the Phillies grabbed a 6-5 lead in the fifth.
The Nationals rallied to tie the game at 6 on a run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Andrew Stevenson in the sixth.
Rendon had hit a solo homer in the fifth off Luis Garcia as the Nationals assumed a 5-2 edge. That came after a four-run uprising in the third against Jake Arrieta, the Phillies starter.
Adam Eaton led off with a triple and scored on a homer by Turner to make it 2-2. Rendon drew a walk and then rookie Soto hit a homer to left on a 3-0 pitch for a 4-2 advantage. The homer for Soto, 19, was his 16th tying him for fourth all-time for homers by a teenager with Ken Griffey, Jr.
Arrieta was pulled after the third inning, as he gave up four hits and three walks to the 16 batters he faced. The Phillies had grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run single by Arrieta off Gonzalez.
Before the game, Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson, who has been on the disabled list since August 18 with a right wrist sprain, threw about 30 pitches at Citizens Bank Park.
“It’s been feeling good for a few days. I didn’t throw any curveballs. Fastball, changeup felt good,” he said.
NOTES: The Nationals are off Thursday and begin a three-game series at home Friday with Milwaukee. Right-hander Tanner Roark (8-13, 3.95) is slated to pitch Friday for the Nationals, followed by Stephen Strasburg (7-7, 4.15) Saturday and Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.13) Sunday ... Washington entered the game 14-21 in one-run contests, getting a 5-4 win here Tuesday. The Nationals won the first game of the series 5-3 on Monday.