J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins Lead Phillies to Another 9th-Inning Comeback Over Nationals

The Phillies book-ended their four-game sweep in D.C. with ninth-inning comebacks against the Nationals and find themselves just a half-game behind the Mets.

Middle of Phillies' order is on fire and does it again in 9th inning to complete sweep originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies ended their four-game series in D.C. the way they started it, coming back in the ninth inning to beat the Nationals and finish off a sweep.

After scoring five in the ninth inning Monday to win in Washington, the Phillies scored four in the ninth off of new Nats closer Kyle Finnegan in Thursday's 7-6 win. 

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With 53 games to play, the Phils find themselves a half-game behind the Mets for first place in the NL East. The Mets, after dropping three of four in Miami and losing six of eight, are in town this weekend for the most important series of the season to date. The Phils can finish the weekend anywhere from 2½ games ahead of the Mets to 3½ back.

J.T. Realmuto, who along with Bryce Harper is scalding at the plate, tied the game with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth. After an intentional walk to Harper, Rhys Hoskins delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run double.

Realmuto has driven in 12 runs in his last eight games, hitting .406. 

Harper has reached base in 35 of his last 58 plate appearances with 12 extra-base hits, including a homer Thursday.

Hoskins returned in the series from a groin injury and has hit for power with a two-run homer and a double Wednesday, then three more hits including the game-winner in the series finale.

Odubel Herrera doubled to begin the ninth and Ronald Torreyes, who continues to be in the middle of late-game rallies, reached via error to set the table.

Since July 1, the Phillies’ offense leads the majors in runs scored, doubles, extra-base hits and walk rate. They have the second-fewest swings-and-misses over that span and the fourth-most home runs.

The Phillies overcame three errors and a poor start from Aaron Nola, who was unable to hold an early two-run lead. He began the day with three scoreless frames before facing eight hitters in the fourth and surrendering a three-run home run to Josh Bell in the fifth.

Nola has a 4.49 ERA through 22 starts and has not delivered three consecutive quality starts (6+ IP, 3 ER or fewer) this season. His last two starts had been strong and he was facing an inexperienced, depleted post-trade deadline Nationals lineup, but his season-long search for consistency continues.

Archie Bradley allowed a run and had the tying run in scoring position with one out in a high-stress ninth inning but escaped for the save.

The Phils are 56-53 as they enter the weekend showdown with the Mets, who have spent 86 of the season’s 108 days atop the NL East. The division is a true three-team race over these final 50-odd games. 

The Mets are susceptible. Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor are injured. Michael Conforto is hitting .200. Catcher James McCann has not been productive. Noah Syndergaard still hasn’t pitched. Javy Baez, who was 0 for 5 with five strikeouts Thursday, leads the majors in K’s and is not having as strong a season as he did from 2018-20. 

There should be some energy at the ballpark this weekend. It’s Kyle Gibson vs. Marcus Stroman Friday night. 

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