By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The bid by interim manager Rob Thomson and the Philadelphia Phillies to end the club’s 11-year playoff drought was hurt by a 13-4 loss to the lowly Washington Nationals in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Saturday as starter Kyle Gibson was tagged once again.
The Game 1 loss for the fading Phillies was their sixth defeat in their past seven outings.
Philadelphia began Saturday a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the third wild-card berth in the National League. The Brewers were scheduled to play the Miami Marlins later.
The Phillies made it to the postseason every year from 2007-11 — including winning the World Series in 2008 — but haven’t been back since that run.
Gibson (10-8) was rocked for eight hits and seven runs in six innings, including homers by Luke Voit and Joey Meneses. Five consecutive batters delivered hits — and all five scored — in the second for the Nationals, owners of the worst record in the majors at 55-102.
In Gibson’s six starts in September and October, his ERA is 9.73 and Philadelphia’s record is 1-5. He has allowed at least five earned runs in three straight starts.
Voit, Meneses and Luis García homered for Washington, which had lost its past nine games against Philadelphia. García, who drove in five runs, and Meneses, who scored four and knocked in four, each had three hits.
The Phillies arrived in the nation’s capital on a five-game losing streak overall, which they snapped with a 5-1 victory Friday. What was supposed to be a doubleheader that day got scrapped because of remnants of Hurricane Ian, creating a two-game set Saturday, when the start of play was delayed 41 minutes because of rain.
Kyle Schwarber hit the first pitch from Aníbal Sánchez (4-6) for a leadoff triple and scored on a double steal with Bryce Harper. But Washington tied it 1-all on García’s RBI single in the bottom half of the first, then went ahead 6-1.
In the second, Meneses’ double got past third baseman Alec Bohm and brought three runs around, followed immediately by Voit’s two-run shot that traveled 440 feet to center field for his 22nd homer of 2022.
Nick Castellanos, Jean Segura and Bryson Stott drove in runs in the fourth off Sánchez to get Philadelphia within two, but Meneses pushed Washington’s lead to 7-4 with a solo shot off Gibson.
It was the 13th homer in 51 games for Meneses, a 30-year-old rookie.
Washington tacked on six runs against relievers Nick Nelson and Chris Devenski.
In Saturday’s second game, scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. — when the forecast called for more showers — Philadelphia planned to pitch Noah Syndergaard against Washington’s Tommy Romero.
Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz hasn’t played since Sept. 13 because of a problem with his left eye, and manager Dave Martinez said he’s “worried” about getting the 42—year-old one last at-bat in front of the home fans.
The series finale Sunday features Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 2.42 ERA) against Nationals LHP Patrick Corbin (6-18, 6.08).
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