By Sam Bush
Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit solo homers and Noah Syndergaard pitched into the seventh inning to keep the Phillies in playoff position with a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Phillies reliever Brand Hand failed to earn a save in the ninth when he put two runners on and was pulled for Nick Nelson with two outs. Nelson retired .188 hitter Riley Adams on a grounder to earn his first save in 61 career relief outings.
The Phillies entered with a grip on the third wild-card spot and each win moves them closer to their first playoff berth since 2011.
Bryce Harper got the night off, but even that was OK because the Phillies have Edmundo Sosa. Sosa tripled and scored in his first at-bat and singled in the fifth, bringing his streak of reaching base to 11 straight plate appearances over his last four starts. He had three singles, four doubles, one triple, two homers and one walk over that span.
Syndergaard (9-9) allowed eight hits and walked none over 86 pitches in six-plus innings. The plus in this instance was a homer to Alex Call to lead off the seventh that brought the Nationals to 4-3. Andrew Bellatti and Jose Alvarado each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Dalton Guthrie, who hit ninth and played right field, ripped a run-scoring single to right in the third for his first major league hit and RBI. He drove in Sosa, who reached third on a headfirst slide for a triple that continued his torrid pace.
“It’s cool. It’s a pretty comfortable environment when you come up here,” Guthrie said. “These older guys make you feel at home. They make it seem like it’s just baseball.”
Like most teams this season, the Phillies continued to rough up Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (6-18). Hoskins, who cost the Phillies with a ninth-inning error a night earlier in a loss to the Marlins, hit his 27th homer of the season in the fourth. Alec Bohm nearly made it back-to-back but his deep drive knocked off the top of the right-field wall for a double. Realmuto drove him in for a 3-0 lead on a single up the middle.
Realmuto, drilled with a pitch in his left elbow in the eighth, hit his 16th homer of the season in the sixth for a 4-2 lead.
Philadelphia’s bottom of the order was clutch again when Guthrie, who this week became the 81st former Florida Gator to play in the majors, made it 5-3 in the seventh with an RBI infield single.
Corbin, who had actually won his last two starts, gave up 12 hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings.