Kody Clemens and the Phillies
Kody Clemens hit a game-tying homer in the ninth on Saturday. | PHOTO: Ted Sturgens, USA
Quality teams often find a way to secure wins, particularly with role players stepping up in critical moments. That was precisely the case for the Phillies on Saturday night. 

In a moment reminiscent of every child's backyard baseball dream, Kody Clemens connected with a Kyle Finnegan 98 mph fastball that was out over the plate, sending it for homer to the alley in right-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The blast tied the game at 3-3, ultimatly forcing extra innings. 

Did he know it was gone when it left the bat?

"Honestly, no," Clemens said with a smile. "I thought it was too low, but luckily it kept going." 

Statcast revealed that Clemens' homer traveled 413 feet with an exit velocity of 108.4 mph, marking the hardest-hit homer of his career. 

"He's barreling a lot of balls right now," said skipper Rob Thomson. "The other night against the Mets he could have had three home runs. He's just swinging the bat really well." 

Bryce Harper sealed the contest in the 10th inning with a clutch sacrifice fly to center, scoring Johan Rojas and clinching a thrilling 4-3 walk-off win for the Phillies over the Nationals. 

In a mid-May showdown against a stumbling division rival, the sold-out crowd of 43,112 fans at Citizens Bank Park erupted in the later innings, echoing the passion of the last two Octobers. The place was rocking. 

The Phillies trailed on three separate occasions but battled back each time. Bryson Stott extended his on-base streak to 14 games with a game-tying solo home run in the seventh inning. 

"We're never out of it," Harper said. "You play 27 outs for a reason, and I think we have all the confidence in the world in the guys and their ability in this clubhouse. I think we do a very good job of playing all 27." 

Cristopher Sanchez showcased some extra zip on his fastball, hitting as high as 98.3 mph and sitting at times 2 mph over his average velocity for the season. He surrendered two runs over seven frames on eight hits, collecting eight strikeouts and inducing 12 swings and misses. 

Despite surrendering three hits in the first inning and five over the first three, he settled down nicely. 

"He was fantastic and held his command," Thomson praised. "The changeup was also really good. The growth of this guy, mentally and emotionally, especially when he had traffic on in the early innings."

When asked about afterwards, Sanchez admitted he's been working on the mental aspect of the game as of late, specifically trying to remain within himself when things get rocky. 

"I've worked a lot on that," he said. "How to be mentally fit on every single pitch. Basically, I've worked on my mood and to remain calm during the game, that kind of stuff." 

He also acknowledged learning from the example set by the team's aces at the front of the starting rotation. 

"Great pitchers do that, and I try to mirror that from [Zack] Wheeler and [Aaron] Nola. Even if you get hit around sometimes, that doesn't stop them, so I'm trying to see that in myself as well." 

The victory improved the Phillies' record to 33-14 and secured another series win, marking the 14th straight series where the club has either won or tied, the second-longest streak in franchise history. 

"Any time you are able to win a series it's big for you," Harper emphasized. "We have an opportunity to have a bonus game tomorrow and then play the world champs on Tuesday. We're looking forward to tomorrow and getting the job done."

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