Nationals eliminate Bryce Harper, Phillies from playoff contention

Chris Lingebach
September 24, 2019 - 4:13 pm
Nationals eliminate Bryce Harper, Phillies from playoff contention

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Bryce Harper's playoff hopes ended Tuesday where his career began, in Washington, where the Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-1 loss to the Nationals.

Needing a win, Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler went with the more unconventional approach of bullpenning, using seven pitchers in the game, and four after just five innings. Philadelphia scored first, holding a 1-0 lead and the Nationals hitless through the first three innings.

Trea Turner broke up the no-hitter with a double in the bottom of the fourth, and the Nats small-balled their way to a tie ballgame, with Adam Eaton sacrifice bunting Tuner over to third, and Anthony Rendon driving him home on a sacrifice fly.

The Nationals took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, with both runs, fittingly, scored on balls driven to Harper in right – a Rendon sacrifice fly that scored Turner, and a Ryan Zimmerman single, scoring Eaton.

With the heart of the Phillies lineup due up, Nationals manager Dave Martinez elected to go with Sean Doolittle out of the bullpen to preserve the lead in the top of the eighth. Doolittle retired the side. The Nats tacked on an insurance run on a Wild Pitch, taking a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Daniel Hudson closed it out for the Nationals, allowing no baserunners in a clean ninth against the Phillies.

Harper and the Phillies' season, for all intents and purposes, is over after Game 156. The Nationals continue to the fight, with a chance to lock down a Wild Card spot by Tuesday night, with a win in Game 2 of the doubleheader and a Cubs loss. Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals in the second game.

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