Washington Nationals: 3rd Inning The Difference In 4-1 Loss To Phillies

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Sep 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) is congratulated by Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp (29) after hitting a three run homer during the third inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) is congratulated by Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp (29) after hitting a three run homer during the third inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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A.J. Cole gave up four runs in the top of the third, which was the difference in the Washington Nationals 4-1 loss to the Phillies

Tonight, the Washington Nationals (82-58) didn’t generate any offense against Alec Asher. As for Cole, the third inning did him in as the Philadelphia Phillies (63-77) scored all four of their runs due to two home runs. The Phillies snapped their nine-game losing streak to the Nats  with a 4-1 win.

Cole got off to a good start, but he ran into trouble in that aforementioned third inning. Peter Bourjos led off with a solo home run off the left field foul pole. His fifth home run of the season gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

Later in the inning, Ryan Howard hit a three-run home run of his own to center to increase the lead to 4-0. It was Howard’s 21st of the season and his second against Cole in his career.

Even though he had a rough inning, Cole still put together a decent outing. The right-hander went five innings, gave up four runs on five hits, and struck out eight on 78 pitches in the loss. With that being said, his outing ended well as he gave up one hit and struck out three in his last two innings of work.

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As for the offense, they were not able to give him much run support tonight against Asher. He went six innings, gave up two hits, and walked one on 75 pitches (55 strikes) in the win. This was his first start since returning from his 80-game PED suspension. Although the Nats were generating hard contact at the plate, it was not resulting in hits all night:

The lone two hits for the Washington Nationals tonight against Asher were doubles by Daniel Murphy and pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin (fifth inning). Murphy’s double in the first gave him 40 doubles for the season, which is another Nats record.

Once Asher came out of the game, the Nats one chance for a big inning against the Phillies bullpen came in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Stephen Drew singled, Trea Turner doubled, and Jayson Werth walked against Hector Neris, which loaded the bases.

After the Werth walk, Murphy hit a fly ball to left that was caught at the track by Aaron Altherr. While it wasn’t the big hit hit the Nats needed, it did drive in Drew for the Nats only run. However, Bryce Harper struck out swinging against Neris, which ended the inning.

Over the final four innings, the Washington Nationals bullpen (Matt Belisle, Matt Grace, and Yusmeiro Petit) held the Phillies to one hit while striking out one batter each. That one hit came on a leadoff single by Cameron Rupp against Petit in the top of the ninth.

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Next Game: The Washington Nationals will continue their series against the Phillies tomorrow night at Nats Park. You can watch the game on MASN at 7:05 p.m ET. Tanner Roark (14-8, 2.89 ERA) will go for his 15th win of the season against Jake Thompson (1-5, 6.48) for the Phillies.

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