WASHINGTON — Rhys Hoskins hit his 30th home run, Bailey Falter pitched six scoreless innings and the Philadelphia Phillies boosted their lead in the National League wild-card race with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday in the opener of a planned day-night doubleheader.
The second game was rained out and will be made up as part of day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
Philadelphia (84-72) snapped a five-game losing streak that included getting swept three games by the Chicago Cubs and moved a full game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the final NL wild card.
“We’re competitive. We care, probably too much at times, but in this game you can’t dwell on it for too long,” Hoskins said of getting past the sweep. “We’re a half-game up, I guess a game up now. If we continue to win games we’re going to be where we want to be.”
J.T. Realmuto had two hits and stole three bases, giving him 21 steals and 21 home runs. He is the second 20-20 catcher in major league history after Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers in 1999 (35 homers, 25 stolen bases). He also threw our a runner trying to steal.
“He’s been everything for us,” manager Rob Thomson said. “Big hits, controlling the running game. The way he runs the game. I’ve said all along that he should be in the MVP conversation.”
Falter (6-4) was roughed up for six runs on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Braves in his last start. He was far better on Friday, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out six.
“Tremendous. I mean you couldn’t ask for more than that,” Thomson said. “Six innings, threw the ball well. He commanded the strike zone.”
The Phillies have defeated the Nationals nine straight times and in 14 of their 16 games this season.
Washington loaded the bases against Seranthony Dominguez with one out in the ninth, but Dominguez struck out Victor Robles and César Hernández grounded out.
Joey Meneses had two hits for Washington (54-102).
“They don’t quit. They’re going to play to the last out,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I want them to take the last-inning at-bats into the first inning, and work that way. Let’s see if we get some runners on base that way and score some runs early.”
Nationals starter Erick Fedde (6-12) allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits in five-plus innings.
Hoskins made it 1-0 on a homer in the first.
“I think really just the first-inning run was going to go a long way for us there,” Hoskins said. “I think everybody got to take a deep breath, know that we can still score runs.”
Juan Segura had a two-out RBI single in the fourth. Nick Castellanos reached on an error in the sixth and later scored on Jordan Weems’ balk.
With the Nationals within 3-1, Hoskins added an RBI single in a two-run ninth.
Realmuto is 21 for 21 in stolen base attempts. That’s the best Phillies streak to start a season since Chase Utley (23 for 23) in 2009. Realmuto also picked up his 83rd RBI, tying his career high set in 2019.
Nationals: RHP Cade Cavalli (shoulder inflammation) has resumed throwing on flat ground but won’t throw off a mound before the season ends. … LHP MacKenzie Gore (elbow inflammation) won’t make a start before the season ends. Acquired from the Padres in the Juan Soto trade while on the 15-day injured list, Gore had been working toward a late-season appearance.
Phillies: RHP Kyle Gibson (10-7, 4.84 ERA) will pitch the day game and RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-10, 4.12 ERA) will start Saturday night.
Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 4.06 ERA) will start the day game and RHP Tommy Romero (1-0, 7.71 ERA), claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 25, will make his Nationals debut in the night game.
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