Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Phillies 4

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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)

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

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Brock Stassi's toe hurt.
 
Maikel Franco's ribs and head hurt.
 
Pain never felt so good.
 
The Phillies pulled off their most dramatic win of the young season when they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, at chilly Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).
 
Franco completed a three-RBI night when he smacked a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single to right to give the Phillies the walk-off win. It was the Phillies' third straight win and fifth in the last seven games as they improved to 8-9 with a chance to sweep a series and even their record at .500 on Sunday afternoon.
 
Franco will be in the lineup.
 
But he might need a couple of Advil to get going.
 
After his game-winning hit, Franco was hilariously chased into right field by his euphoric teammates. The Phillies third baseman absorbed a beat down with Andres Blanco delivering a blow to the top of Franco's head.
 
"You see that -- boom!" Blanco said in the happy clubhouse after that game.  
 
Franco did more than see it.

He felt it.
 
"Whitey got me," he said, laughing and pointing to his head and ribs. "My body is screaming right now."
 
Across the clubhouse, Stassi was feeling Franco's pain. His foot got stepped on during the happy scrum.
 
"My toe is killing me," he said with a laugh.
 
Stassi, too, might need an Advil before Sunday's game. He has a good chance to be in the lineup at first base because Tommy Joseph seems like a candidate for a day off after a tough night. Joseph made a costly throwing error in the top of the 10th inning that helped the Braves take a 3-2 lead.
 
Stassi helped rescue the Phillies from that deficit. His 10th inning single was the first of three one-out hits that the Phils collected against Braves' closer Jim Johnson. With the bases loaded, Johnson made Odubel Herrera look bad with a swinging strikeout for the second out. That brought up Franco. New hitting coach Matt Stairs is constantly encouraging Franco to use the whole field and that's just what the cleanup man did in lacing a liner to the warning track in right.

"To right field! How 'bout that," manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
It was Franco's second single of the night. He would have been awarded a game-winning double if he had reached second base. But, alas, he was chased into right field.
 
In the clubhouse after the game, Franco was told by a club official that he could have had a double had he touched second.
 
Franco's eyes widened in disbelief.
 
"Ah, Mikey!" he said, scolding himself.
 
Then he laughed.
 
Across the clubhouse, Joseph could laugh about the miscue that saw him throw to an empty third base after a sacrifice bunt in the 10th. With everything moving fast, he mistook shortstop Freddy Galvis for a baserunner as Galvis streaked to cover third.
 
Joseph's error put a man on third and the Braves scored the go-ahead run on an infield hit.
 
The ironic part about Joseph's error was the Phillies played excellent defense -- Herrera and Aaron Altherr made great catches in the outfield and Galvis was Galvis at short -- until the 10th.
 
They pitched well, too, from starter Jerad Eickhoff's five innings of one-run ball to the stingy relief work of Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia and Pat Neshek. They teamed on three shutout innings.
 
With his top late-game tandem of Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris in need of a night off, Mackanin asked Edubray Ramos to close it out. Ramos struck out the first two batters in the ninth and was one out away from his first big-league save when Brandon Phillips unloaded on a hanging slider to tie the game at 2-2.
 
Ramos rebounded and got the final out of the inning. As he walked off the field, he covered his mouth with his glove and shouted. Best guess: He said a naughty word. But ultimately his teammates got him off the hook. Parts of it were pretty. Parts of it were ugly. But when the night was over, the Phillies had a win.
 
"It was really a wacky game," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We played well overall, then there was a flurry of activity at the end."
 
Mackanin reached for a bottle of water.
 
"I'm going to drink more of this Smart Water," he said. "It's a happy day."

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

NEW YORK -- Gio Gonzalez mentioned the tasty Latin food served in the visitors' clubhouse. And the airplanes that fly overhead. And the pretty features of the ballpark.

But if there's a real reason why the Washington lefty is so successful at Citi Field, he isn't saying.

"Any secrets?" he offered. "No."

Gonzalez pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning to win again at the Mets' stadium, and the Nationals beat New York 3-1 on a drizzly Saturday for their sixth straight victory (see full recap).

Contreras' slam powers Arrieta, Cubs to 12-8 win over Reds
CINCINNATI -- After a sputtering start, the Cubs' offense is finally rolling. And it's no surprise that they're breaking out at Great American Ball Park, a place that's just their style.

Wilson Contreras hit his first career grand slam and Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward added three-run shots on Saturday, powering Chicago to a 12-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Jake Arrieta (3-0) returned to the mound where he threw his second career no-hitter last April 21 and struggled mightily at the outset, giving up two homers in the first inning. Chicago's offense pulled him through with another homer-filled game at Great American Ball Park. Arrieta helped with an RBI triple (see full recap).

Homers by Mancini, Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2
BALTIMORE -- Just when it appeared Steven Wright had finally gained command of his fluttering knuckleball, the Baltimore Orioles found their groove.

The result: Another early exit for the 2016 All-Star in Boston's 4-2 loss Saturday night.

Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Orioles used one big inning to secure their fourth straight victory (see full recap).

Simmons belts grand slam to lead Angels past Blue Jays 5-4
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking grand slam, Tyler Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels held off the slumping Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Saturday night.

Simmons cleared the bases in the third inning off Casey Lawrence (0-2) for his second career grand slam, helping the Angels snap a three-game losing streak and win for the second time in 11 games.

Skaggs (1-1) gave up a run in the first but settled down to hold the Blue Jays to five hits over the next six innings, getting the Blue Jays to hit into three double plays along the way. He was lifted after Ryan Goins doubled to lead off the eighth (see full recap).