Herrera stays hot; Phillies wallop Nationals in series opener

Odubel Herrera stays hot for Philadelphia
Odubel Herrera continues to be one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball, collecting four hits including a homer to highlight a Phillies 12-2 win over the Nationals on Friday night.

The Phillies collected 15 hits in the winning effort while also leapfrogging the Nationals to take sole possession of second place in the National League East.

Carlos Santana chipped in with four RBIs, but the night belonged to Herrera who became just the sixth player in franchise history to hit a home run in five straight games.

The win was an important one, mainly because it gives the Phillies a strong start to a 10-game stretch that includes seven games with the Nats and a three-game series with the juggernaut Yankees.

"At this point, I think in a lot of ways, we've proven ourselves," manager Gabe Kapler told reporters afterward. "We've gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the league, and done a pretty good job. At some point, it stops being that we're trying to prove ourselves, and we're just competing with really good teams, and I think that's where we are."

The Phillies have now won eight of their last 11 and are slugging .514 over the last seven days, the second-best mark in the majors.

Even 2-2 in the third inning, Herrera crushed a two-run shot off Nats' starter Tanner Roark to give the Phillies a two-run advantage. The Phillies piled on from there, chasing Roark after 4 1/3 innings.

“All I’m thinking about is helping the team win,” Herrera told reporters afterward. “It’s always satisfying to beat great teams like the Nationals. That’s what you play for. Everyone here is a competitor. You always want to see where you're at. It’s a good challenge for us. Luckily for me, I’m hitting the ball well.”

Zach Eflin tossed five innings, surrendering two runs on six hits. He struck out five. Austin Davis, Zac Curtis, and Yacksel Rios combined to toss four scoreless innings in relief, allowing just two hits.

The two clubs resume their three-game set on Saturday with Aaron Nola set to square off with right-hander Erick Freede who has a 6.10 ERA over two starts in the month of June.

Injury Update
Pat Neshek will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Single-A Clearwater. Depending on how things play out, he could rejoin the club next week. He's yet to appear in a game this year after dealing with injuries to his forearm and shoulder.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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