Nationals look to shut down Herrera, Phillies

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals will try again Saturday to cool off Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera.

That is something nobody has been able to in more than a week.

Herrera homered for the fifth straight game and finished with four hits Friday night, helping the Phillies rout the Washington Nationals 12-2 in the opener of a three-game series.

He is hitting .472 (17 for 36) with six homers, 11 runs and 10 RBIs in his last eight games and raised his season average to .308.

“I don’t think there’s any words for it. I mean it’s simply incredible what he can do,” Friday’s starter and winner Zac 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.”

Herrera hit a tiebreaking two-run shot in the third inning for his 13th homer of the season, matching the club record for consecutive games with a long ball. He has connected in six of his last seven overall.

The Phillies (40-33) pounded out 15 hits and jumped ahead of the Nationals (40-34) for second place in the National League East behind the Atlanta Braves.

“To me, today was the first game where we really got blown out. That was a blowout right there,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after Washington lost for the eighth time in 11 games, including the completion of a suspended game.

“We’ve just got to keep our heads up, guys go home and rest, come back tomorrow and do it again.”

Washington’s Michael A. Taylor extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI double and Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 with a walk in the leadoff spot.

The Phillies got a homer and four RBIs from Carlos Santana, who also singled and walked twice.

Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (8-2, 2.55) opposes rookie RHP Erick Fedde (0-2, 5.63) in a matchup of 2014 first-round draft picks on Saturday. Nola was the seventh overall pick in the first-year player draft and Fedde was the 18th.

Nola hasn’t taken a loss since May 20 but scuffled in his last start, allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of a no-decision at Milwaukee. The Phillies prevailed 10-9.

“My command really wasn’t where it usually is,” Nola told mlb.com. “My fastball was cutting a little bit and missing off the plate a little bit. They had a good approach against me.”

Against the Nationals, Nola is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 starts. Harper is 8-for-17 with two home runs versus Nola, Daniel Murphy is 8-for-20 and Anthony Rendon is 4-for-17.

Fedde makes his fourth start of the season for Washington and third since replacing injured Stephen Strasburg in the rotation. He’s coming off a loss to the Yankees on Monday, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“He pitched well except when he made one mistake,” Martinez told the Washington Post, referring to Aaron Hicks’ two-run homer in the fifth. “We were very, very excited to see this.”

Fedde will be making his first career start against the Phillies.