Phillies look to complete four-game sweep of Nationals

MLB Baseball

The surging Philadelphia Phillies aim to match a season-high winning streak on Thursday when they vie for a sweep of their four-game series against the host Washington Nationals.

The Phillies once again flexed their offensive muscle with a 9-5 victory over the Nationals on Wednesday, maintaining a 1 ½-game deficit behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

Philadelphia has scored 36 runs en route to winning four in a row, a streak that is one victory shy of matching its season high set from May 3-7.

The notion that the Phillies’ bats could heat up in short order also provided a calming presence on Wednesday when the team was faced with an early three-run deficit.

“I don’t think there was much of a change in the dugout,” slugger Rhys Hoskins said. “It’s the third inning. We’ve seemed to be able to score a lot early and score a lot late throughout the season.”

Hoskins had an RBI double during the four-run third inning before belting a two-run shot in the fifth to increase his team-leading totals in homers (24) and RBIs (66).

Bryce Harper collected three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored on Wednesday to improve to 9-for-19 with one homer, four RBIs and seven runs scored in his past five contests. The 2015 National League MVP has been tormenting his former team by going 20-for-48 with five homers, nine RBIs and 15 runs scored this season.

Harper has reached base in all 14 games versus the Nationals in 2021. He enters the series finale with a 13-game on-base streak overall.

The Phillies will turn to Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.30 ERA) on Thursday.

Nola, 28, had won two of his prior three starts before receiving a no-decision on Saturday against Pittsburgh. He allowed two runs on three hits in six innings in that outing.

“This is how it’s going to be, it’s baseball,” Nola said. “We’ve seen it from our hitters, where they score seven, eight, nine, 10 (runs). That’s just how it works sometimes.”

Nola owns a 6-7 record with a 3.89 ERA in 22 career starts versus Washington. Juan Soto is just 5-for-26 with eight strikeouts against Nola, albeit with two homers.

Speaking of two homers, Luis Garcia belted a pair of solo shots on Wednesday after going 2-for-23 in his previous seven games. Fellow youngsters Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles also went deep for the Nationals.

“It’s very exciting and motivating,” the 21-year-old Garcia said, via translator Octavio Martinez. “I’m trying to learn from each individual. Every day, you can pick up something from everybody. And I think we’re all motivated to learn from each other.”

Washington right-hander Joe Ross (5-9, 4.00) will provide the opposition on Thursday.

Ross, 28, yielded five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 6-3 setback to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

Ross fell to 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA in eight career appearances (six starts) against Philadelphia after yielding four runs (none earned) on three hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss on June 5. Jean Segura (9-for-18) and J.T. Realmuto (8-for-19) have flustered Ross in their respective careers.

–Field Level Media

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