Nationals win ‘weird’ game over Phillies
PHILADELPHIA The Nationals’ longshot playoff hopes got some help Tuesday from Little League-like defense and baserunning from the Phillies, another team with postseason goals.
“Funny game,” Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said.
“It was weird,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
It took a lot of oddities for Washington to rally for a 5-4 victory over the Phillies, giving the Nationals their first series win over a team with a winning record since May.
Zimmerman scored twice on errors and stole his first base of the year, his former University of Virginia teammate Mark Reynolds was ejected and reliever Greg Holland got his first save with the Nationals after posting a horrid ERA earlier this season with St. Louis.
The game came to a bizarre end in the bottom of the ninth after Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer in the top of the inning for a 4-3 Washington lead.
The Phillies made it 5-4 off Nationals reliever Justin Miller as former Washington catcher Wilson Ramos hit an RBI double in the last of the ninth.
Holland came on and got Jorge Alfaro to fly out to Michael A. Taylor in center field for the second out.
Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez pinch ran for the slow-footed Ramos and tagged up on the play and went to third. But the Nationals noticed that Velzsquez left second too early and threw the ball to second base for the out.
“I saw it clear as day,” Martinez said. “These guys fight. It was a big win for us.”
After a review, the call was upheld to end the game. The Nationals congratulated each other near the pitcher’s mound after waiting around for the video challenge.
“Overall just a great team win,” said Washington ace Max Scherzer.
Scherzer did not figure in the decision as he pitched a season-low five innings. Koda Glover got the win after he retired the Phillies in the eighth.
Other oddities: Only two Washington batters had hits. Zimmerman and Rendon had three each.
It was just the third win this season by Washington when it trailed going into the ninth inning. Rendon hit only the second homer this season for the Nationals to give his team the lead after trailing after eight innings.
The other came last week when Zimmerman hit a walk-off homer to beat the Phillies, who have lost four of the last five to Washington.
Reynolds was ejected in the eighth after being called out on strikes as a pinch-hitter. He came back on the field to argue and was thrown out again, according to Martinez and Zimmerman.
“Never seen that happen before. Hopefully he gets fined twice,” said Zimmerman, with a smile.
On this night the Nationals, in a season of disappointments, could laugh a little bit.
The third-place Nationals are now 67-66 and 3 games back of second-place Philadelphia (70-62) in the National League East. Washington is eight games back of first-place Atlanta.