Austin Voth again kept the ball down and mixed his pitches well for a second consecutive start, finally earning his first win of the season with a complete-game gem in Game 1 of a doubleheader as the Nationals dropped the Phillies 5-1 at Nats Park.
Voth struck out a season-high seven batters and pitched a season-best seven innings, working his fastball with a dipping curveball and a slowdown changeup to keep the Phillies off guard.
After losing five games to begin the season, Voth has bounced back with consecutive solid starts. He has now struck out a combined 13 batters in those two recent starts. Today’s victory marks his first win since Sept. 27, 2019 in an 8-2 win over the Indians
Manager Davey Martinez said after Voth’s start Sept. 16 against the Rays that the right-hander was using the strength of his lower body to help get more on his pitches. It also helped his command. Voth felt that same power again today.
“It’s been huge getting back to being me, using my legs, I have more life on my fastball,” Voth said during a postgame Zoom video call with reporters. “I feel like I can spin the ball a little bit better because of that. I’m not pulling off as much. With my mechanics, I’ve been working on the same thing, just trying to keep things simple. Focus on foot on the back side of the rubber and making sure it doesn’t come off. That’s been the key so far.”
Voth hit 94 mph with the fastball consistently early, and then was able to stay at 93 mph with his heater for the remainder of the game. He set down the Phillies in order the first two innings. Then the last three frames, Voth retired nine of the 10 batters faced to finish them off.
It was the first time Voth remembers throwing a complete game. He did do it once for Triple-A Syracuse in 2017, but that was in a six-inning loss to Charlotte, and certainly not as memorable as today’s accomplishment.
“It was huge,” Voth said. “I’ve never been able to do that. I feel like I’ve been chasing that for a while. More importantly, just going deep in the game today. I felt like with the doubleheader and how our bullpen is, gave them a little bit of a rest. I’m ecstatic right now.”
Voth allowed one run on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts on 105 pitches, 68 for strikes.
The Nats got to Phillies starter Aaron Nola a couple of times, and benefited from some sloppy defense. Juan Soto reached second base in the first on left fielder Mickey Moniak’s error. He came home on an Asdrúbal Cabrera single.
In the third, the Nats stroked three doubles, took advantage of Bryce Harper’s first error of the season and added an infield single to score four times.
In losing the first two games of this series, the Phillies have committed five errors.
Jean Segura smacked a solo shot for the Phillies in the fourth, but that was all for Philadelphia against Voth. That round tripper was the only blemish on the day for the right-hander, who had allowed nine homers in his five losses. Voth said the difference for him recently has been his aggressiveness in going after strikes.
“Attacking the zone,” Voth said. “When you always throw strike one, the at-bat is going to be in your favor. I felt like I was kind of falling behind early on in the games where I struggled and I was trying to nitpick a little too much with the strike zone and just kind of place it here. Today and the last start, I felt like I was commanding the zone very well and forcing my pitches to where I wanted them to go and not worrying about the results.”
The Nats are 22-32 with six games remaining. The Phillies fall to 27-28.