Phillies lose to Nationals as Hector Neris surrenders game-winning blast in ninth

Neris surrenders game-winner as Phillies fall to Nationals
It's almost as if it's a bad movie with no ending in sight. Juan Soto drilled a two-out go-ahead homer in the ninth inning on Saturday night off closer Hector Neris to lift the Nationals to a 4-3 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Neris retired the first two batters he faced before surrendering a base hit to Anthony Rendon. Soto then deposited the first pitch he saw into the seats, capping a four-run comeback for the visitors.

"I was looking for it and he hung it," Soto told reporters afterward. "It felt amazing."

With the loss, the Phillies have dropped 23 of their last 37 games. The club now sits 2 1/2 games behind the Nationals for second place and eight games behind division leader Atlanta.

“We’re a better team than we’ve showed over the last calendar month or more,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters afterward (see video). “I expect us to be better down the stretch. It’s July 13. A lot of baseball left to be played.”



Aaron Nola surrendered one run on five hits over six innings. He struck out nine and walked four.

The Phillies had a 3-1 lead entering the eighth, but a two-out error by Maikel Franco allowed the Nats to trim the deficit to one. The Phillies threatened in the home portion of the ninth with a runner on second, but Andrew Knapp flew out to center to end the contest.

The two clubs conclude their three-game set on Sunday as Jake Arrieta faces Anibal Sanchez.

“It’s not over yet,” Nola said. “We all know that. Yeah, there’s a lot of talent. We all know that we’re good enough to keep winning. I think that things will start to click. We’ve got to keep winning. It’s plain and simple."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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