Herrera homers again, Phillies rout Nationals 12-2
WASHINGTON (AP) The way Odubel Herrera is going, he might have to make an extra trip to Washington next month.
Herrera hit a tiebreaking two-run shot in the third for his 13th homer, matching the club record for consecutive games with a long ball. He has connected in six of his last seven overall.
The All-Star Game is at Nationals Park on July 17, and Herrera is putting together a solid case for a spot on the NL squad.
”I’m playing hard, giving my best, so if it happens it’ll be great,” he said via an interpreter. ”That’s what you work for.”
Herrera is hitting .472 (17 for 36) with six homers, 11 runs and 10 RBIs in his last eight games. His season batting average is up to .308.
”I don’t think there’s any words for it. I mean it’s simply incredible what he can do,” Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin said.
”The thing with Odubel is that he can shake off anything at any given time. … It can look like he’s struggling and then next pitch he hits it 440 feet.”
The Phillies had 15 hits in their fifth win in six games. They also moved ahead of Washington for second place in the NL East behind Atlanta.
”To me, today was the first game where we really got blown out. That was a blowout right there,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”We’ve just got to keep our heads up, guys go home and rest, come back tomorrow and do it again.”
Eflin (5-2) allowed baserunners in every inning except the first but limited the damage to two runs over five innings in his fourth straight win.
Washington’s Tanner Roark (3-8) gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings, and the Nationals needed four relievers to finish the game.
”The last two starts I’ve left the bullpen out to dry,” Roark said, ”and I’m just not happy about it.”
The Nationals have dropped eight of 11, including the completion of a suspended game. They are in third place this late in the season for the first time since 2013.
Michael A. Taylor extended his hitting streak to 13 games and drove in Washington’s first run when he capped an 11-pitch at-bat with a double in the second.
HARPER DERBY BOUND
On Friday afternoon the Nationals tweeted: ”tfw Bryce announces he’ll do the (at)MLB HR Derby if he makes the NL All-Star team…” accompanied by a GIF of Harper celebrating in the dugout.
Chase Utley (twice in 2008), Bobby Abreu (2005), Mike Schmidt (1979) and Dick Allen (1969) also homered in five straight games for the Phillies. Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993), Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956) share the major league record with homers in eight consecutive games.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right lat strain) threw his curveball off flat ground and will throw the pitch again during a bullpen session on Saturday. . RHP Pat Neshek (right shoulder strain) will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater on Saturday. … RHP Luis Garcia (right wrist strain) played catch on flat ground Friday.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on flat ground for the second time this week Friday. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) will make a rehab start for Class A Potomac on Sunday.