Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Maikel Franco delivers walk-off home run



One night after blowing a two-out lead in the ninth inning, Hector Neris struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning of a tie game Sunday afternoon. The Phillies rallied for a run in the bottom of the inning to beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park.

The winning run came off the bat of Maikel Franco. He hit a first-pitch homer off lefty Matt Grace with one out.

The Phils ended up salvaging one game in the series. They should have won two. They were one out away from a win Saturday when Neris gave up a two-out single and a two-run homer as Washington rallied for a 4-3 win (see story).

The Phils are still in rough shape at 48-45 and in third place in the NL East.

And the big, bad Dodgers are coming to town.

Arrieta's day

Jake Arrieta was able to give his team five innings of one-run ball and left with a lead, but there are still concerns about how effective he will be long term pitching with a bone spur in his elbow. For instance, Arrieta’s command was not particularly good. He threw 88 pitches in five innings and 37 of them were balls. His velocity also dipped from 93 mph to 91 over the five innings. Arrieta has pitched 4 1/3 and 5 innings in his last two starts. If he can’t go deeper than that into games, it is going to expose the team’s weak middle relief corps.

Bullpen blues

Veterans Jose Alvarez, Adam Morgan and Neris and rookie Ranger Suarez all did a good job out of the bullpen, but rookie J.D. Hammer struggled in the seventh. He walked a pair of hitters with one out and paid a big price as Howie Kendrick and Trea Turner smacked RBI singles to tie the game at 3-3.

Realmuto getting warm

J.T. Realmuto continues to get hot. He improved his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single and a solo homer. He has 16 hits over the 10 games.

Bryce Harper was 0 for 7 with a walk and three strikeouts in the final two games of the series.

Health check

Reliever Tommy Hunter is back on the injured list with the same forearm pain that he experienced in spring training. That ultimately kept him out of action for the first half of the season. Hunter is optimistic of a return, but it will be tough to bank on him.

Edubray Ramos was called up from Triple A.

Up next

It gets no easier for the Phillies. The Dodgers bring the best record in the majors into Philadelphia the next four days. The pitching matchups favor the Dodgers:

Monday night — RHP Zach Eflin (7-8, 3.78) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.09)

Tuesday night — RHP Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.63) vs. RHP Walker Buehler (8-1, 3.46)

Wednesday night — RHP Nick Pivetta (4-4, 5.81) vs. RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.82)

Thursday afternoon — RHP Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.63) vs. RHP Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.65)

The Dodgers swept the Phillies out west earlier this season.

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