Phillies lose a heartbreaking 2-1 contest against the Washington Nationals. Baserunning blunder or spectacular play? In the 9th inning with Philadelphia down by a 2-1 score. Rhys Hoskins barely missed a home run and settled for a double. Manager Joe Girardi opted to insert Travis Jankowski to run for Hoskins. What happened next would be the rarest of rare baseball plays.
How It All Went Down
A pitch skimmed the dirt and was caught by the Nationals catcher, Alex Avila. He immediately checked to see where Jankowski was. He ended up in no man’s land between second and third. Avila made a beeline to Jankowski and pump-faked a throw which froze the Phils runner. Avila tracked him down and earned the unheard of a 2 unassisted put out.
“Yeah, that’s what ended up happening,” Avila said. “I know for sure I gave him one pump fake once I was probably about eight feet away from him or so, just to see if he would break towards the third closer to me after pump faking towards J-Hay. He did, but then I think he thought I was going to continue and then he turned around again. In my 13 years, I’ve kinda had a little bit of both on different teams I’ve been on, as far as a rundown play, whether you should have the ball in your hand, whether to pump fake, stuff like that.
You want the runner to see the ball in your hand, and there’s nothing wrong with a pump fake to get the runner to make a decision. That way it makes your job a little bit easier to make a decision. There are situations where you just give up the ball, but that was a situation where you’re not giving up the ball until you have to, because that is the tying run.”
The play overshadowed a tremendous old-fashioned pitching duel between Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler. Scherzer was masterful in his 7 2/3 innings allowing 5 hits one of which was an RBI single from JT Realmuto, walking only one and notching 9 strikeouts.
Wheeler nearly matched Scherzer’s line with 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, Josh Bell had an RBI double and Juan Soto hit what amounted to the game-winning home run in the 6th inning. Wheeler gave up the two runs and walked two while striking out 8. Phillies lose a heartbreaking 2-1 contest against the Washington Nationals.