Washington Nationals Recap: Doug Fister Earns Win as Nats Beat Phillies 5-2


Thursday night’s game saw a rematch of pitchers that had been seen just last Saturday evening, with Doug Fister squaring off against Cole Hamels. Hamels came in having allowed three runs or fewer in his last 21 road games going back to last season. Fister, for his part, came in still looking to avoid giving up his first earned run of the season.

As for team performance, the Phillies were hoping to get back into the win column. They just finished a three game series in which they were swept by the Mets. The Washington Nationals, on the other hand, were hoping to build off of their success in Boston. After struggling to string together hits for the first part of the season, the Nats put together a combined 17 runs in the last two games against the Red Sox. Hopefully, they could keep the momentum going against their division rival.

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They certainly got off a good start. Yunel Escobar, the second-baseman-turned-makeshift-third-baseman acquired for Tyler Clippard in the offseason, continued his hot start to the season and got the Nationals on the board early. He took the first pitch he saw from Cole Hamels over the wall in center to stake the Nationals to an early 1-0 lead.

The Phillies would fight back. In the top of the third, Cole Hamels reached on a fielder’s choice when he tried to bunt. At first it looked like Fister would be able to get out of the trouble he was in, but Freddy Galvis tripled into right to drive in Hamels, and the game was tied at one.

Philadelphia would take a brief lead the next inning, this time on more poor defense by the Nationals. Jeff Francouer drew a leadoff walk. Cody Asche‘s dribbler forced Ramos to take the out at first, and Francouer moved up to second. He would advance to third on an error by Michael Taylor, who dropped a ball he should have caught. Fister intentionally walked Ryan Howard to load the bases, and the run came in on Darin Ruf‘s sacrifice fly. The Phillies led 2-1, but fortunately Fister was able to get Hamels to ground out to avoid further damage.

The Nationals answered in the bottom of the inning. Showing great plate discipline, Bryce Harper laid off a pitch on a full count to draw a walk before advancing to second on a balk. Wilson Ramos, who’s lately been managing to deliver clutch hits, blooped a ball into shallow left, and Bryce Harper scored. The game was all square once again, this time at two.

Making up for his gaff in the field earlier, Michael Taylor would give the Nationals back the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Ahead in the count 2-0, Taylor sat on a fastball, and when he saw it, he crushed it over the wall just to the left of center field.

The Nationals would add to their advantage in the bottom of the sixth. Jayson Werth got the inning started with a double. Harper, starting to look more and more like the hitter we saw in spring training, followed him with a walk. When Ryan Zimmerman sent a ball screaming into right field, both of them raced around the bases (Harper hot on Werth’s heels) and the score was 5-2 after six.

The Phillies would threaten in the top of the seventh, managing to load the bases with two outs. Manager Matt Williams came out to the mound, and Doug Fister‘s night was done. He finished having surrendered two runs (one earned), on four hits. He managed to strike out four, but also allowed four walks, although one was intentional. Matt Thornton came on in relief and managed to get the final out of the inning without damaging the lead.

From there, it was up to Aaron Barrett, who pitched a perfect eighth inning, and Drew Storen, who allowed a single to Ryan Howard before ending the game with a strikeout and a double play (started by Ian Desmond, no less).

With the win, the Nationals improve to 4-6 on the season and move up to 2.5 games back of the Braves and Mets, who are both out to a 6-3 start. Tomorrow, Washington will look to keep things rolling as they send Max Scherzer (0-1, 0.66 ERA) to the mound to face Sean O’Sullivan (0-0, 3.00). You can catch the game at 7:05 PM ET on MASN2.


  • Fister managed to pitch pretty well, but he didn’t really have his best stuff. Usually known for inducing a lot of ground balls, Fister’s sinker didn’t have the sort of movement he usually did and a lot of outs were recorded via fly balls. It’s good to see he’s able to deliver even when he doesn’t have his A game.
  • The Nationals managed to add another unearned run, this time on Taylor’s dropped ball. On the bright side, at least Ian Desmond avoided bobbling a ball or throwing one into the stands.
  • After getting off to an abysmal start, the Nationals are steadily moving in the right direction. The hitting continues to improve, as well as the bullpen. While the defense has not completely eliminated its miscues, it’s at least starting to look slightly more dependable.

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