Phillies 8, Nationals 6: It takes 8 pitchers and a big hit from Jose Bautista to seal win

Phillies 8, Nationals 6: It takes 8 pitchers and a big hit from Jose Bautista to seal win


The Phillies salvaged a game against the Washington Nationals with an 8-6 win at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.

The Phils, who lost the first two games of the series under the weight of poor defense and other miscues, blew two leads in the game, but ultimately held on to their last one.

Newcomer Jose Bautista, who started in right field, gave the Phils their last lead with a two-out RBI single in the seventh, breaking a 6-6 tie.

Bautista reached base four times. In addition to the single, he was hit by a pitch and walked twice.

The win was just the Phillies’ third in the last 11 games. They entered the night trailing first-place Atlanta by 4½ games in the NL East. The Braves were losing to Miami as the Phillies’ game ended, so the Phils had a chance to make up some ground.

Jake off
Jake Arrieta delivered in one phase of the game as he stroked a two-out, two-run single to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Arrieta did not deliver in the phase of the game where they needed him most.

After giving his team that 2-0 lead in the second, Arrieta was lit up for four runs on a pair of two-run homers in the top of the third. He allowed a one-out triple to Adam Eaton before Trea Turner homered, then a walk to Anthony Rendon before Juan Soto homered on a 3-0 fastball.

Arrieta was gone after three innings. He didn’t fool many hitters. He threw 75 pitches and got just one swing and miss. Three of the four hits he allowed were for extra bases, a triple and two homers.

The Phillies are already on shaky ground. To get out of it, they need a lot of things to happen, including Arrieta to pitch a lot better than this in September.

Everybody in the pool
After Arrieta was KO’ed early, manager Gabe Kapler employed a merry-go-round bullpen. He used seven of his eight relievers. Tommy Hunter pitched out of trouble and got three big outs to protect a one-run lead in the eighth. Roman Quinn (triple) and Rhys Hoskins (double) had big hits in the bottom of the eighth to give Hunter another run and some cushion in the ninth. He got the job done and the save — with shortstop Scott Kingery making a fielding gem for the second out in the ninth.

The bullpen will benefit from Thursday’s off day.

Slamtana, literally
Carlos Santana goes by the nickname “Slamtana.” He was literally that guy when he stroked a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead.

The lead did not last long as Victor Arano gave up a run in the sixth. Arano gave up two singles and struck out a batter. The run was unearned after a passed ball was charged to catcher Wilson Ramos.

Santana is second on the team with 77 RBIs and he has 20 homers. He is not a favorite of the fans because of his paltry .222 batting average, but they sure liked his home run.

The paid crowd was just 22,252. It was the biggest of the series.

Hector to protector
Hector Neris faced two batters in a tie game in the sixth and struck both of them out. Since returning from Triple A, he has pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out 18 of 29. Neris’ confidence was shattered and his splitter was hanging when he went down in early July. Both are back.

Power surge
The Nationals have hit 24 homers against the Phillies in 16 games this season.

Featuring Nola
The Phillies made a slight adjustment to their rotation to optimize Aaron Nola in the month of September (see story). It could help Nola’s Cy Young chances. The Phils need to get hot for it to matter in the playoff race.

Up next
The Phillies are off Thursday. They return to work for another tough series against the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs starting Friday. Cole Hamels will not pitch in the series for Chicago and that’s a good thing for the Phillies. He is 4-0 with an 0.69 ERA in six starts since joining the Cubs in a trade from Texas.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Friday night — RHP Nick Pivetta (7-10, 4.76) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (11-9, 4.33)

Saturday night — RHP Zach Eflin (9-5, 3.99) vs. Kyle Hendricks (10-10, 3.86)

Sunday afternoon — RHP Aaron Nola (15-3, 2.10) vs. LHP Jon Lester (14-5, 3.67).

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Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

Brian Dawkins schools Phillies prospects on how to handle boos

A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.

One of those lessons came from a legend.

Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.

“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”

The group included Alec Bohm, the Phillies’ top offensive prospect, and Cristopher Sanchez, a pitching prospect with a 100 mph arm profiled here by Jim Salisbury.

Check out the video here if you’re seeking some extra juice at the gym or just want to see Weapon X drop some jewels.

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Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

With all of the chaos currently consuming the league, it may have been overlooked that the Giants and Gabe Kapler have made a historic coaching hire.

Alyssa Nakken has been named one of Kapler's assistant coaches. She will be the first woman on a major-league coaching staff.

Can anyone say girl power?

Nakken is also a chairperson for the Giants' Employee Resource Group. This group promotes diversity and equality within the organization.

And as a female, with her intelligence and determination and hunger and drive to excel — I understand some of her responsibility is keeping her fingers on the pulse of the culture — it’s invaluable. She’ll broaden the scope and perspective, and I applaud Gabe for doing this.

-Kathy Strahan, Nakken's former coach in an interview for the San Francisco Chronicle

This is a moment that could change the mold of the league in the new decade.

Women belong in sports and are here to stay. And this single hire has the potential to open numerous doors in the future for both the league and anyone who wants to be a part of it.

You can read more about the hire and get to know Nakken at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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