Phillies wins a wild in Washington to sweep the double-headed from the Nats

WASHINGTON – The Phillies did not play perfect baseball in their double header against the Washington Nationals, but it did not seem to matter when party music crashed in the clubhouse after 12 hours on the ball field late Friday night.

Phils survived a series of errors that included leaving too many runners at the base in the opener and costly bullpen walks, two base running errors and an almost fatal field error in the night cap to get a round of the Nationals.

The Phillies took the opening, 5-3. The second match was wild and Phils won it, 8-7.

The two victories pushed Phils to a season-best four games over 0.500 at 35-31. They have taken the first three matches of this five-player and have now won five straight series for the first time since 2011, the last time they reached the playoffs.

Phils is 14-2 in June and 13-2 under new skipper Rob Thomson.

“Great day,” Thomson said when it was over.

He acknowledged that the team had overcome some mistakes during the long, hot, exhausting day.

“It’s just the character of this club,” he said. “They think.”

The biggest reason the Phillies were able to cover their shortcomings in the night caps – baserunning mistakes by Rhys Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber, two damaging walks and a wild pitch by Nick Nelson in the sixth, and a mistake by shortstop Didi Gregorius who did it possible for the Nats to draw at the bottom of the ninth – was that they did some little things so well.

JT Realmuto knocked out a potential doubles ball to keep alive in the eighth inning for pinch hitter Bryce Harper to get off the bench and hit a matching, two-run double to the right-center.

Little things…

Washington reliever Kyle Finnegan apparently tried to turn Harper around and seemed to walk him on four lanes. However, Judge Clinton Vondrak called the fourth lane, which was outside the strike zone, a strike. Harper was not happy with the conversation – and he was still not after the match. Finnegan’s fifth pitch was a strike and Harper crushed it.

“Harp was upset that it wasn’t ball four, but I said, ‘Well, let him hit,'” Thomson said. “JT hitting that ball and getting Harper to the plate was really the key.”

Realmuto was first called out, but the Phillies challenged and won.

After Harper equalized on the eighth, Matt Vierling secured his second homer in the match at the top of the ninth to give Phil a 6-5 lead.

The Phillies went deep into their bullpen during the day. Corey Knebel, Jeury’s Familia and Andrew Bellatti got important outs in the night cap and Jose Alvarado was on the verge of finishing a victory in one race in the ninth when Gregorius made a two-out throwing error that allowed Washington to draw.

Alvarado eventually ended up closing it at the bottom of the 10th. He got the win after Realmuto easily took home two races. The two races were huge because the Nats scored an unearned race to make it a one-race match in the 10th.

Hoskins scored the second race of the 10th thanks to another of the small things, especially third base coach Dusty Wathan’s knowledge of the obstruction rule. Washington shortstop Luis Garcia disrupted Hoskins’ path to third when Realmuto’s ball went up the middle. Wathan noticed the obstacle, saw third base judge John Bacon’s hand go up, and angrily waved Hoskins home to make sure the run would count.

“Dusty knows the rule,” Thomson said. “Huge. Really smart.”

“It just shows what a great baseball mind he has,” Harper said of Wathan.

The Phillies actually go over that game in spring training. It rarely comes up, but when it did in this game, everyone was ready.

It would not be difficult to imagine that the Phillies lost a match like this in the first two months of the season, as the attacks were inconsistent, the bullpen had occasional meltdowns and the defense was unstable.

The defense and the bullpen are still far from perfect, but things are getting better.

“We find ways to win games we probably should not, and that’s what good teams do,” Hoskins said. “I never think we feel like we’re out of a match. It has a lot to do with the way we swing the bats, but I also think the guys in the bullpen have been good lately, attacking the zone, and when we have scored, we throw up some zeros.

Phils won the first match in three hours and 32 minutes.

They won the second match in three hours and 45 minutes.

“It was a great day of baseball,” Harper said. “Win the series today with two more games to hopefully do well and get out of here with a good feeling.”