Erick Fedde cruised through the first five hitters he faced Saturday afternoon, but then the Phillies nickel-and-dimed the right-hander to death, stringing together four straight singles in the second inning to forge a 2-2 tie.
Scott Kingery’s infield single to short prolonged the inning and set the stage for the rally. Maikel Franco dropped a single into left field and then Jorge Alfaro’s single to short center plated Kingery with the first Phillies run. None of the hits was struck particularly well.
But the most well-placed of the four consecutive singles came off the bat of pitcher Aaron Nola, who snuck a single through the hole between first and second to score Franco with the tying run.
The Nationals had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out rally of their own. Anthony Rendon reached on an infield single, Juan Soto popped an opposite-field double to left and Daniel Murphy’s two-run single up the middle put the Nats up 2-0.
Fedde was at 19 pitches through the first inning and needed to throw 27 in the second. The Nationals need him to be more pitch-efficient if he’s going to go deep into the game, build his confidence and give the bullpen a rest.
Update: Fedde went back out to work the seventh after throwing 97 pitches and keeping the Nationals in position for a victory. But he allowed a leadoff double to center by Franco, and Davey Martinez came out to get him. Ryan Madson is on in relief.
Fedde went six-plus innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 60 for strikes. But he’s now in position to lose this game.
Franco moved to third on a groundout by Jorge Alfaro and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by pinch-hitter Jesmuel Valentín, barely beating the tag at home by Spencer Kieboom. The Nats challenged the call, but after a replay review lasting 2 minutes, 20 seconds, Franco was ruled safe.
Nola is out after six strong innings. He surrendered two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Update II: Carlos Santana homered off Kelvin Herrera in the eighth, bumping the Phillies’ lead to 4-2. His 13th homer of the season came on a 1-1 pitch and barely eluded the leap of Juan Soto in front of the visitors bullpen in left.
With two down, Scott Kingery walked and stole second before scoring when Franco’s grounder eluded Wilmer Difo behind second base.
Update III: Rendon homered off Adam Morgan in the eighth, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 5-3.
Update IV: It’s a final. Philles 5, Nationals 3.