Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 4


The Phillies suffered a demoralizing 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

Bryce Harper hit a three-run home run against Joaquin Benoit on a full-count pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Nats the win. Harper hit two homers on the day.

For the second game in a row, the Phillies rallied in the late innings to take a lead.

The Phils scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth to take a 4-3 lead.

Cesar Hernandez, the hero of Saturday's win with a two-run homer in the eighth, was one of three Phillies with a hit in Sunday's eighth-inning rally. Daniel Nava also had a hit in the inning and Tommy Joseph singled home the tying run with two outs. The Phils also benefited from an error by Jayson Werth in the inning.

The Phils took the lead in the ninth on a leadoff double by Aaron Altherr, a groundout by Odubel Herrera and an RBI fielder's choice groundball by Freddy Galvis. Altherr scored on the play, diving across home plate as the throw from second base got away from catcher Matt Wieters.

Benoit allowed a one-out walk and a one-out single before Harper's homer with two outs.

Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff gave up eight hits and three runs over six innings. He struck out five.

Eickhoff lost a 1-0 lead in the first inning when he gave up back-to-back doubles to the first two batters he faced.

In the third, he got ahead of Anthony Rendon, 0-2, before giving up an infield hit. The play at first was reviewed and the Phillies lost the challenge after a delay of 100 seconds. Eickhoff then emerged from the delay and threw a first-pitch slider that Harper crushed for a two-run homer.

Eickhoff has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 straight starts, dating to last season. The last Phillies starter to do that was Cole Hamels in 2014.

Run support is still a problem for Eickhoff. He has made 44 starts for the Phillies and the team has averaged just 3.79 runs while he's been in the game.

Washington lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up three runs, one of which was unearned, in 7 1/3 innings.

Gonzalez gave up just three hits and a run through seven innings and took a 3-1 lead to the mound in the eighth. He gave up two one-out hits and both turned into runs as the Phillies tied the game. However, only one of the runs was earned as an error by left fielder Jayson Werth loomed large.

In his last five starts against the Phils, dating to last season, Gonzalez has allowed just six earned runs in 33 2/3 innings.

Bullpen report
Joely Rodriguez and Pat Neshek pitched scoreless ball before Benoit blew up. Coda Glover gave up the game-tying single to Joseph.

The run was charged to Gonzalez.

Blake Treinen was in line for the loss before Harper's heroics.

At the plate
Hernandez had three hits. He led off the game with a solo homer, the first of his big-league career from the right side of the plate. That was the Phillies' only run until the eighth when they rallied for a pair of runs to tie the game.

Hernandez has three homers on the season and two have led off games. He had just six homers last season.

Altherr's huge leadoff double in the ninth came with him starting in center field in place of Herrera, who did not start for the first time all season. Herrera pinch-hit in the ninth and appeared to hurt himself running.

Harper had five RBIs with a pair of homers.

Health check
Left fielder Howie Kendrick was out of the starting lineup because of soreness near his ribs. He landed hard making a diving catch in Saturday's game. Brock Stassi got the start in left field.

Up next
The Phillies are off on Monday. They open a three-game series in New York against the Mets on Tuesday night. The Mets are 29-12 against the Phils since the start of 2015.

The Phils named Zach Eflin as their starting pitcher for Tuesday night's game. He will come up from Triple A to take the place of injured Clay Buchholz. Zack Wheeler (1-1, 7.45) will pitch for the Mets.

On Wednesday night, Vince Velasquez (0-2, 9.00) will oppose Robert Gsellman (0-1, 9.28)

On Thursday night, Aaron Nola (1-0, 3.27) will face Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.95)

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).