Nationals win wild one in 10 innings over Phillies
By Bill Ladson and Todd Zolecki
PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals will take it any way they can get it.
They avoided a series sweep to the Phillies on Sunday, when right-hander Justin De Fratus uncorked a wild pitch to allow Yunel Escobar to score from third base in the 10th inning of a 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park. It was the go-ahead run with the Nationals also scoring a needed insurance run in the inning.
The Phillies tied the game in the seventh when Darin Ruf hit a pinch-hit solo home run to left field, giving Nationals ace Max Scherzer a no-decision. Scherzer allowed one run in six innings.
"It's a big win for us. Max pitched really well again. It's good to come through late," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
"I like the fight in the guys," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said about the team's 3-3 start. "We had a chance to win all but Opening Day. That's a good sign. And the guys have fought back to win some games. The energy is there. The fight is there. So we'll just continue to work at it and do the little things a little bit better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nats score twice in the 10th: After leading off with a double and advancing to third base on a ground out by Bryce Harper, Escobar scored the go-ahead run on the wild pitch. After Clint Robinson doubled with two outs, he was knocked in by Wilson Ramos to make it a 4-2 game. More >
Mad Max does his job: Scherzer made his second start as a member of the Nationals, and he was outstanding across six innings, allowing one run on six hits and striking out eight. He struck out Ryan Howard three times -- twice with a runner on third base. More >
Free Darin Ruf: Before his pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning, Ruf had been hitless in 11 at-bats this season. It marked the first pinch-hit homer of his career. Ruf remained in the game, replacing Howard at first base. Howard went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on 15 pitches. He left runners in scoring position in the first, third and fifth innings. More >
Harper puts Washington on board: In the third at-bat of the game, Harper swung at the first pitch from Phillies starter Sean O'Sullivan and hit a home run over the left-field wall to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
O'Sullivan hangs with Max: The Phillies sent O'Sullivan to Minor League camp in March, but he became their No. 5 starter because of injuries and the ineffectiveness of other pitchers on the 40-man roster. O'Sullivan more than held his own against Scherzer, allowing five hits, two runs, one walk and striking out five in six innings. More >
One pitch spoils it: De Fratus replaced Jake Diekman with one out and a runner on third in the 10th inning. He threw his first pitch -- a slider -- into the dirt to allow the go-ahead run to score. De Fratus allowed one more run in the inning to hand Washington a two-run lead. More >
"There was an energy in the clubhouse I haven't felt since I've been here, for the most part. It's nice to get -- not necessarily off to the best start at 3-3 -- but we've played well these past three games. Better than people thought. So we'll try to take that into next week." -- Ruf, on Saturday's 10-inning victory carrying into another close game Sunday
The Phillies designated left-hander Cesar Jimenez for assignment before the game to make room for O'Sullivan on the 25- and 40-man rosters. More >
Phillies right fielder Domonic Brown went 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk Sunday in a rehab game with Class A Advanced Clearwater. He is recovering from tendinitis in his left Achilles and could rejoin the team before the end of the month.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Phillies won an instant-replay challenge in the 10th inning. First-base umpire Bob Davidson called Ryan Zimmerman safe on an infield single, but replay officials in New York overturned the decision. It took 2 minutes, 20 seconds to call Zimmerman out.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: The Nationals travel to Boston to play a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park starting Monday afternoon at 3:05 ET. The last time the Nationals played the Red Sox was in June 2012, with Washington sweeping the three-game set. Harper was one of the hitting heroes in that series, going 3-for-8 with a home run and three RBIs.
Phillies: The Phillies open their first road series of the season Monday afternoon at 1:05 ET against the Mets at Citi Field for their home opener. Right-hander Aaron Harang makes his second start after pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday in a victory over the Red Sox.