Instant Replay: Nationals 7, Phillies 6

Instant Replay: Nationals 7, Phillies 6

BOX SCORE

The Phillies did not go easily in their home opener against the Washington Nationals on Friday. They chipped away at a seven-run deficit but ultimately lost, 7-6.

Phillies pitching was torched for three home runs and that was the difference in the game.

Starter Vince Velasquez gave up a pair of two-run homers and reliever Joely Rodriguez was tagged for a three-run shot.

Washington starter Max Scherzer, who won the NL Cy Young award last season, beat the Phils for the eighth time in 12 career starts against them.

The Phils trailed 7-0 but closed the gap to three runs in the seventh. They seemed poised for a rally against the Nats' bullpen when they got the first two men on in the eighth, but Washington reliever Koda Glover doused the threat with three quick outs.

Freddy Galvis cut Washington's lead to a run with a two-run homer in the ninth before Blake Treinen retired the next three to end the game.

A sellout crowd of 45,121 braved 19-mph winds and temperatures in the mid-40s.

The Phillies have lost three straight since winning their season opener Monday in Cincinnati.

Starting pitching report
Velasquez showed off his strength and his biggest flaw in his first outing of the season. Using a power fastball and a sprinkle of off-speed stuff, he struck out 10 batters. But his command and economy of pitches were so poor that he lasted just four innings. He threw 94 pitches, 57 of which were strikes.

Velasquez gave up a pair of two-run home runs -- to Bryce Harper in the first inning and Daniel Murphy in the third. Harper hit a thigh-high, full-count changeup. Murphy hit a 2-2 fastball that was right down the middle.

Scherzer gave up four hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six starts against the Phils since the start of last season. He is 8-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 12 starts lifetime against the Phils.

Bullpen report
Rodriguez pitched the fifth inning for the Phils. He allowed a walk, a double and a crushing three-run homer to Jayson Werth.

Glover got three big outs for Washington when he retired Maikel Franco, Daniel Nava and Tommy Joseph with two men on base in the eighth.

Treinen survived a shaky ninth for the save.

At the plate
The Phillies did not have a hit until Howie Kendrick doubled with one out in the fourth. He had two of the Phillies' nine hits. Odubel Herrera also had a pair of hits and an RBI. Galvis drove in three runs with a pair of extra-base hits.

After trailing, 7-0, the Phils rallied for a run in the sixth and three in the seventh. Galvis had an RBI double in the seventh and Aaron Altherr a two-run homer. Galvis then clubbed a two-run homer to make it a one-run game in the ninth.

After the two-run homers by Harper and Murphy, Werth smacked a three-run homer in the fifth inning, putting the Nats up, 7-0. The homer was Werth's 101st with the Nationals (this is his seventh season with the club) and his 20th against the Phillies.

Up next
The series continues on Saturday night. Aaron Nola will make his season debut against right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.

Mets promote Tim Tebow to high Class A St. Lucie

Mets promote Tim Tebow to high Class A St. Lucie

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Tim Tebow is moving up and heading south -- to some very familiar territory.

Tebow has been promoted to the New York Mets' high Class A affiliate in St. Lucie, Florida. The 29-year-old Tebow led the University of Florida to two national championships in football and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy during his stellar career with the Gators.

"I'm not sure how much of an additional challenge it will be," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Sunday in San Francisco. "Clearly it's a step up. I certainly think he can handle it."

Tebow began his first pro baseball season with Class A Columbia, drawing huge crowds at home and wherever the Fireflies went in the South Atlantic League. He entered his final Fireflies game batting .222 with three home runs and 23 RBIs.

"I wouldn't say he has excelled there, but at the same time, what he's done there -- given all the circumstances -- justified the promotion to Port St. Lucie," Alderson said.

Phillies play wait-and-see game with Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick

Phillies play wait-and-see game with Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick

PHOENIX -- Jerad Eickhoff and Howie Kendrick both tested their achy body parts on Sunday.

Eickhoff, on the disabled list with an upper back strain, threw two 15-pitch "innings" in the bullpen and was pleased with the results.

"It felt good, no sense of pulling," he said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Eickhoff's turn in the rotation will come up Wednesday in Seattle. If he can't make the start, Mark Leiter Jr. will. Leiter pitched six shutout innings in his first big-league start on Friday night.

As for Kendrick, who is battling left hamstring tightness, he was not in the starting lineup for a fourth straight game on Sunday. He did run some sprints under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan before the game.

"He still feels it, but he's available to pinch-hit," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Is this getting close to being a situation that would require a trip to the disabled list?

"Hopefully not," Mackanin said. "Hopefully he's better tomorrow. If not, I'm hoping he can at least DH in Seattle (on Tuesday). He's one of our best hitters and I want to get him in there. But I've got to be cautious."

Kendrick already spent six weeks on the disabled list with an abdominal injury earlier this season. He's played well when healthy, hitting .355 (43 for 121) with a .414 on-base percentage in 31 games.

The Phillies need to be certain that Kendrick is healthy when they turn him loose because he could hold some trade value in the month of July and a full-blown injury would hurt that.