The Phillies absorbed a hellacious beating at the hands of the Washington Nationals on Friday night. The Nats ambushed starter Nick Pivetta for seven runs in the first two innings, ran out to an 11-run lead and powered their way to a 17-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The weather was steamy – hittin' weather as Charlie Manuel used to say – and the Nationals did a lot of that against Pivetta and Hector Neris. The Nats hit a pair of two-run homers in the first inning (Trea Turner and Juan Soto) and a three-run homer (Anthony Rendon) against Pivetta, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings.
The Nats got another homer – a three-run shot – from Bryce Harper in the fourth inning in building an 11-0 lead. The homer, against Yacksel Rios, was Harper's NL-leading 20th.
Things got ugly in the ninth inning when Neris gave up three home runs and was serenaded by boos after finally getting the third out.
The Nats hit seven homers in the game. Entering the game, they had hit just 12 in the entire month of June.
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The loss left the Phillies at 43-37. They are a game better than Washington (42-38) in the NL East standings. Atlanta leads the division.
June was considered to be a tough test for the Phillies. Friday night's loss means the Phils will not finish the month with a winning record. They are 12-14 with one game to play in the month. It still has been a solid month for the Phillies with series wins over the Rockies, Brewers, Cardinals and Nationals last week. With two games left against the Nats this weekend there is still time to win this series, but the Phils will need better starting pitching from Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta.
Pivetta fell to 4-7 with the loss and his ERA swelled from 4.06 to 4.71 in 17 starts.
The 25-year-old right-hander opened the season as one of the team's bright spots. He went 4-2 with a 3.23 ERA in his first 10 starts. Since then, he is 0-5 with a 7.09 ERA in seven starts.
Despite being down 11-0, the Phillies battled back and managed to at least make the game interesting with a 10-hit attack that included home runs from Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery and Carlos Santana.
Hoskins has homered in three straight games, giving him 14 on the season and eight since coming off the disabled 19 games ago. He has 22 RBIs over that span.
Hoskins' home run in the fifth inning against Washington starter Erick Fedde was pretty impressive. It came on a full-count splitter on the 14th pitch of the at-bat and after Hoskins had fouled off seven straight pitches. Hoskins fouled off eight pitches in all in the at-bat.
That was about the extent of the Phillies' highlights on a forgettable night.