WASHINGTON — An old bugaboo reared its head on the Phillies and led to their first loss of the new season Wednesday.
The Phillies committed three errors in a 9-8 loss to the Washington Nationals. The big one came with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. First baseman Rhys Hoskins missed a throw from pitcher Seranthony Dominguez and that allowed the tying run to score.
The Nats then won it in the bottom of the ninth with a single and three straight walks against reliever David Robertson.
Prior to Dominguez entering in the eighth, the Phils’ bullpen had pitched four scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game.
The Phils trailed by four runs early in the game but came back to take a two-run lead with four runs in the top of the eighth. They could not lock down the lead, however.
Defense was a major issue for the Phillies last year. They committed 123 errors, second most in the majors.
The Phils are 4-1. Washington is 2-3.
• With the Phils down by two runs, Odubel Herrera led off the top of the eighth with a single. Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery both drew one-out walks against Trevor Rosenthal to load the bases. That brought up Andrew McCutchen, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts on the day. McCuthen worked a 2-2 count and drove a ball over the centerfielder’s head for a three-run double to put the Phils ahead. Third base coach Dusty Wathan made an aggressive play, sending Kingery home with the go-ahead run. Kingery made an acrobatic slide to avoid a tag at the plate.
• The Nationals came back from a two-run deficit to tie the game with a pair of runs against Dominguez in the bottom of the eighth. The Nats tied the game on Hoskins' two-out error.
• The Nationals set an early tone with three straight extra-base hits, including two homers, and three runs against Aaron Nola in the first inning.
• Nola gave up a three-run homer to Juan Soto on an 0-2 fastball as the Nats went up, 6-2, in the third.
Tough day for Nola
Nola got the ball on five days’ rest. That usually produces good results as Nola entered the day 23-7 with a 2.29 ERA in 43 career starts on five days’ rest as opposed to 17-18 with a 4.73 ERA in 41 starts on the customary four days’ rest.
Nola, however, struggled. His fastball was not sharp and he made mistakes in the middle of the plate on his way to allowing five hits — four for extra bases — and six runs over just three innings, ending a streak of 38 straight starts where he’d allowed no more than four runs. Nola was tagged for three homers for just the third time in his career. That happened just once last season.
Bryce Harper reached base five times with two singles, two conventional walks and two intentional walks. He has reached base in 14 of 19 plate appearances over the last four games.
The Phillies are idle on Thursday. They begin a three-game interleague series against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Friday night — RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi
Saturday afternoon — RHP Jake Arrieta vs. RHP Michael Pineda
Sunday afternoon — RHP Zach Eflin vs. RHP Jose Berrios
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