WASHINGTON — The Phillies suffered an excruciating 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Ryan Zimmerman clubbed a two-run home run against Seranthony Dominguez with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Nats the win.
Rookie Juan Soto set up the walk-off homer with a two-out double to keep the game alive.
It was Zimmerman’s 11th walk-off homer.
The loss dropped the Phillies three games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
The Phils have lost four in a row.
Zach Eflin did not have a good start and for the second night in a row the Phillies squandered an early 4-1 lead.
Hector Neris and Tommy Hunter combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Pat Neshek gave up a run in the eighth as the Nats cut the Phillies’ lead to one run. Dominguez blew the one-run lead in the ninth.
The Phils hit three homers. Maikel Franco clubbed a two-run shot in the first and Justin Bour and Cesar Hernandez had solo blows. Bour and Carlos Santana also contributed important RBI doubles.
Eflin gave up 10 hits and five runs over 3 1/3 innings. He let a three-run lead get away as the Nats sent nine men to the plate in the third inning to tie the game at 4-4.
The Phillies parlayed a leadoff walk by Nick Williams and singles by Jorge Alfaro and Roman Quinn into a run as they took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fourth. That lead did not last long. Trea Turner and Bryce Harper singled against Eflin with one out in the bottom of the inning. Harper then stole second and Turner was able to scamper home with the tying run when catcher Alfaro’s throw bounced errantly into center field.
Phillies catchers lead the majors with 19 errors.
The Phillies took the lead yet again on a two-out, pinch-hit double by Santana in the top of the sixth. Hunter was able to put up a zero in the bottom of the inning to preserve the lead. Before Hunter, Neris got five outs out of the bullpen.
Santana did not start as manager Gabe Kapler went with Bour at first base. The move paid dividends as Bour kick-started a two-out rally in the first inning with an RBI double that preceded a two-run homer by Franco. The homer gave the Phils an early 3-0 lead. Two innings later, Bour clubbed a solo homer against Stephen Strasburg to give the Phils a 4-1 lead.
The Phils look to avoid a sweep on Thursday afternoon. Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer will go against each other in a marquee pitching matchup.