Pinch-running pitcher Vince Velasquez was called out for leaving second base early while tagging up, resulting in a game-ending double play that gave the Washington Nationals a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
After Aaron Nola outpitched Max Scherzer for the second time in six days in a matchup of NL Cy Young Award contenders, the Phillies watched Washington rally for three runs in the ninth to take a 5-3 lead.
Wilson Ramos got Philadelphia within a run with a pinch-hit double in the ninth, and Velasquez pinch-ran for the catcher. Greg Holland relieved and retired Jorge Alfaro on a flyball to center, with Velasquez moving to third as the potential tying run.
But the Nationals appealed that Velasquez left too soon, and he was called out. A replay upheld the ruling.
“I wanted to put pressure on the outfield,” Velasquez said, according to MLB.com. “I knew I had the base. I mean, clearly the ball wasn’t even there by the time I reached third base, so I knew I was capable of taking third. I left early and I can’t do anything about it. I guess it was a simple base-running mistake, but what can I do now?”
Anthony Rendon hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Pat Neshek (1-1) in the Nationals ninth. The Nationals trailed 3-2 when Bryce Harper drew a leadoff walk from Tommy Hunter. Neshek surrendered Rendon’s 17th homer, and Washington added another run on an error after Ryan Zimmerman hit his third double of the game.
It was the latest gut-wrenching loss for the Phillies, who are 6-13 since Aug. 8 and fell 4 ½ games behind NL East-leading Atlanta.
Alfaro and Odubel Herrera hit homers off Scherzer to hand Nola a 3-0 lead. But poor defense and a shaky bullpen blew it.
Nola gave up two runs — one earned — and four hits, striking out eight in seven innings. He threw eight dominant innings in Philadelphia’s 2-0 win at Washington last Thursday.
Scherzer gave up three runs and four hits in five innings, tying for his shortest outing of the season on April 4 at Atlanta.
Herrera, who hit a two-run shot off Scherzer last week, gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Batting cleanup for the first time in his career, Herrera drove a 2-2 fastball into the right-field seats for his 21st homer.
After Scott Kingery’s infield single in the fifth, Alfaro hit a two-run homer into the bushes in straightaway center field to make it 3-0.
Nola took a shutout into the seventh before Rendon led off with a single and Ryan Zimmerman hit a double with one out. Matt Wieters followed with a grounder to first. Carlos Santana stepped on the bag for the second out but made an errant throw home allowing Zimmerman to also score.
The Nationals added a run in the ninth when Zimmerman hit his career-best third double, stole third and scored on catcher Alfaro’s throwing error.
Koda Glover (1-2) tossed a scoreless eighth for the win.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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