Saturday afternoon, over nine resounding innings, the Washington Nationals made clear they have finished chasing the Philadelphia Phillies. For years, the Nationals played doormat as the Phillies captured pennants. Their meetings felt “like going to a gunfight with a knife,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. Not anymore, not after the thorough, 7-1 thumping the Nationals delivered at Nationals Park before 39,496, a mixed crowd that, by the end, had been drained of its Philadelphia influence.
Jayson Werth, the former Phillie and favored target of visiting fans, delivered the lodestone hit, a three-run home run with two outs in the fifth inning that gave the Nationals their first runs. Once Werth’s blast landed in the visitors’ bullpen, the levee broke. The Nationals bashed three homers and outhit the Phillies, 15-5, even as Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with a walk. Grinning, 26-year-old left-hander Gio Gonzalez cruised, allowing one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings while whiffing seven Phillies and hitting a double himself.