The red-hot Phillies got contributions from the top and bottom of their roster in beating the Washington Nationals, 3-0, on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Reserve Neil Walker had three hits, including a two-run single in the fourth inning, and Zack Wheeler out-pitched three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
The win was the Phillies’ eighth in the last nine games and second shutout of Washington in as many nights.
The Phils are 17-15 with 28 games to play. If the season were to end today, the Phils would be one of the eight National League teams in the playoffs.
Washington, suffering a World Series hangover, slipped to 12-22.
The Phils will look for a four-game sweep of the Nats on Thursday afternoon.
Phils are 5-0 against Washington this season.
The right-hander turned in another impressive start with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits, two walks and struck out six.
Wheeler is 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA in seven starts with the Phils.
Two super starts
Over the last two games, Phillies starting pitchers (Wheeler and Nola) have racked up 14 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed just five hits.
Nola and Wheeler could be a dangerous 1-2 punch in a best-of-three first-round playoff series.
The last time …
The Phils had back-to-back shutouts was April 27-28, 2016 at Washington. Jeremy Hellickson and Nola were the starting pitchers in those games.
Reliever David Phelps, acquired in a trade from Milwaukee on Monday, threw one pitch and got the third out in the top of the seventh to protect a 3-0 lead.
He stayed on and got three more outs in the eighth. Brandon Workman closed it out.
Phelps drove from Milwaukee to Philadelphia after the trade. He stopped at his home in Pittsburgh on Monday and spent the night with his family before driving the rest of the way on Tuesday afternoon.
Bryce Harper helped carry the team for the first month of the season. Has cooled down on this homestand. He is just 2 for 18 in six games. He struck out three times against Scherzer.
Why was Walker even in the lineup? This is why. The move paid dividends.
Jay Bruce homered for the second time in three games to push the Phils lead to 3-0 in the sixth inning. He went the opposite way to left field against Scherzer.
In between trips to the injured list, Bruce has been a productive power bat for the Phils since coming over from Seattle in June 2019.
He had 12 homers and 31 RBIs in 145 at-bats with the Phils last season. His homer Wednesday night was his sixth this season in a 61 at-bats.
Bruce had $21 million remaining on his contract (through this season) when the Phillies acquired him for minor-league infielder Jake Scheiner. The Phillies were only responsible for $2.75 million of that, before this year’s pro-rate. Good pickup.
The four-game series comes to a close on Thursday afternoon. Zach Eflin (2-1, 4.10) pitches against Anibal Sanchez (1-4, 6.90). First pitch is 4:05 p.m.
Before the game
The Phillies will retire jersey No. 15 in honor of 1964 National League rookie of the year Dick Allen.
The ceremony will begin at approximately 3:10 p.m. and be carried live on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Allen, who played nine of his 15 seasons with the Phillies, was one of the most dangerous hitters in the game from 1964 to 1974. He averaged 29 homers and 89 RBIs over that span while hitting .299 with a .940 OPS. Only Hall of Famer Hank Aaron's .941 OPS was better over that span. Allen slugged .554 from 1964 to 1974, second only to Aaron's .561. Only Hall of Famers Billy Williams and Aaron had more extra-base hits than Allen's 670 in that 11-year run.
Allen was to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days committee in December, but that vote has been moved back a year because of the pandemic.