Two Phillies bats heat up to snap Nats' streak



WASHINGTON — The good Vince Velasquez showed up for the Phillies Saturday afternoon and boy, did they need him.

Velasquez allowed just one run on one hit, a homer, over five innings against a Nationals lineup that had scored 31 in the last four games.

It was a step in the right direction for Vinny Velo after he allowed 10 runs, four homers and 15 baserunners in 8⅔ innings his last two starts.

Four walks and a high pitch count (92) forced Velasquez out after five innings. Still, the Phillies will take it with how consistent their bullpen has been most of the season. Four Phils relievers combined for four shutout innings in the 3-1 win. 

The Nats had just two hits.

The victory makes the Phillies 18-14 and gives them a chance at a series win tomorrow when Jake Arrieta faces Max Scherzer. The Nationals are 17-17 after snapping a six-game win streak.

Two bats heating up
Production out of the 5-spot in the lineup has been hard to come by this season for the Phillies. Their No. 5 hitters have combined to hit .222/.303/.359 entering play Saturday and all three numbers rank 25th or lower.

Maikel Franco, who's been hot over the last week, moved up to the 5-spot Saturday and rewarded Gabe Kapler with a clutch RBI single after Carlos Santana tripled in the sixth inning.

Franco also turned an important, 5-3 double play to end the bottom of the sixth.

As for Santana, he's reached base six times in the last four games and has two doubles, a triple and a homer. 

Getting these two going for a few weeks would do wonders for a Phillies lineup that has rarely clicked altogether this season.

Hoskins breaks the skid
Rhys Hoskins gave the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead with a two-run shot in the first inning. It was his first homer in exactly 50 plate appearances and only his second extra-base hit in his last eight games.

In the ninth inning, he missed a grand slam to left-center by about two feet.

Hoskins still has great numbers on the season, hitting .286/.437/.514 with five homers, 22 RBI and 27 walks in 32 games.

Harper held in check
Bryce Harper, who homered twice and crushed two lineouts Friday night, was surprisingly kept off base by the Phillies' pitching staff. He went 0 for 4 and, representing the winning run, was left on deck to end the game.

Velasquez retired him three times. Harper entered the game 5 for 6 off Velasquez with a double, a homer and two walks.

Harper has reached base at least once in 75 of 93 career games against the Phillies.

Random notes
• Tanner Roark, who allowed three runs in 6⅓ innings, threw 115 pitches, the second-most this season by any National Leaguer, behind only Tyson Ross in his no-hit bid.

• Edubray Ramos keeps rolling along. His ERA is down to 0.64 in 15 appearances after his scoreless sixth inning.

• Phillies relievers have stranded 30 of their last 33 inherited runners. That 91 percent success rate is best in the majors since April 9. 

• Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, an underrated all-around player who finished sixth last season in NL MVP voting, returned after missing 19 games with a toe injury. He walked twice.

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