PHILADELPHIA - Following the All-Star break, the Nationals could not have asked for a better start to the second part of their season.
It was the second time this season the Nats have shut out Philadelphia and is their seventh shutout of the season. The Nats lead the season series 8-4 and have won four straight games against their division rivals along the Delaware River, including five of the last six. The Braves beat the Padres 5-3 so their lead remains six games atop the division.
The Nationals are the hottest team in baseball since May 24, going 29-11 (.725). The Braves are next at 27-14 (.659). The Nats have won 16 of 20 games.
“I love the way they came out and played, and I saw it in the clubhouse earlier today,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “They were upbeat, ready to go. A lot of guys actually did some baseball stuff, and stretched, and were prepared to come out and play today.
“They had intensity. We scored early, and we played really well. We continue to just keep playing baseball. I preach this all the time with them. I say, ‘Hey, take care of the here and now, and let’s worry about today and let’s go from there.’ “
With a two-run single and a pair of sacrifice fly RBIs Friday, the Nationals’ streak of consecutive games with a home run came to an end at a franchise-record 21 games, dating to June 13. Meanwhile, Nats pitchers have not allowed a home run in four straight games. They have surrendered only one homer over 65 innings to begin July.
Robles’ two-run single in the second inning vaulted the Nats to a 2-0 advantage they never relinquished. He used an inside-out swing to push the ball to deep right field, where Bryce Harper had to go get it.
“I loved it,” Martinez said. “When you get two strikes like that, and you’ve got runners in scoring position, just put the ball in play. Good things happen when you put the ball in play, and he did that.”
Tonight, the Nationals put the ball in the hands of southpaw Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.34 ERA) as he faces off against right-hander Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.74 ERA). Corbin is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts this season against the Phillies and 4-2 with a 3.22 ERA in seven career starts. Nola has been knocked around by the Nats this season to the tune of a 9.64 ERA in two starts, allowing 11 runs (10 earned) in 9 1/3 innings. He is 4-5 with a 4.18 ERA lifetime against the Nats.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: FOX, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees, no precipitation expected, wind 8 mph from right field to left field
SS Trea Turner
RF Adam Eaton
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Juan Soto
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Brian Dozier
CF Victor Robles
C Yan Gomes
LHP Patrick Corbin
LF Scott Kingery
SS Jean Segura
RF Bryce Harper
1B Rhys Hoskins
C J.T. Realmuto
2B César Hernádez
3B Maikel Franco
CF Roman Quinn
RHP Aaron Nola