Zach Eflin, Phillies shoot for three-game sweep of Nationals


The Philadelphia Phillies will look to complete a three-game sweep of the host Washington Nationals on Thursday.

Philadelphia rallied for a 5-2 10-inning win on Wednesday and will send right-hander Zach Eflin (2-1, 3.38 ERA) to the mound in Thursday’s finale.

Eflin allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings last time out, picking up a win against the Atlanta Braves. He allowed five hits and walked one while striking out eight and cruised as the Phillies took an early 6-0 lead.

“Made sure to go in on some guys and get them uncomfortable,” Eflin said. “Threw some really good sliders away to right-handed hitters and backdoor to lefties. But for the most part, it was really just stepping on the gas the whole game, especially with that six-run first inning. “

In 45 1/3 innings, Eflin has struck out 42 batters and walked only three. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his seven starts.

Eflin is 4-3 with a 4.26 earned run average in nine career starts against Washington. Juan Soto is 9-for-18 with a home run against Eflin, and Trea Turner is 6-for-18, while Starlin Castro, owner of a 10-game hitting streak, is 4-for-23 (.174).

The Nationals will look to Patrick Corbin (1-3, 7.36) to help them end a four-game losing streak. Corbin gave up three runs on three solo homers over six innings in a no-decision against the Yankees last time out. He allowed only one baserunner after the third inning.

“I felt my fastball was good today,” Corbin said after his second straight solid outing. “I think that’s just going to continue to improve. And I think the slider is going to get better and better as it goes here and it starts warming up. I feel good. I’m in a good position here. I just want to keep this going.”

Corbin is 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 11 starts versus the Phillies. Jean Segura is 8-for-25 (.320) against Corbin, while Bryce Harper is 7-for-25 (.280), and Andrew McCutchen is 6-for-33 (.182).

Nationals starter Jon Lester left with a 2-1 lead after six innings on Wednesday, but Odubel Herrera homered off closer Brad Hand with one out in the ninth and the Phillies plated three off Hand and Kyle Finnegan in the 10th for a 5-2 win.

The loss prompted a rare team meeting for the slumping Nationals.

“We’re going to stick together,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I talked to the boys tonight, and we’re going to stay positive. We’re going through a rough time, as a team, not just one individual. We’re going to stay positive, and we’re going to get through this.”

One bright spot on a night when the Nationals left 12 runners on base was Castro, who went 4-for-5. During his hitting streak, Castro is 15-for-37 (.405).

Bryce Harper had three hits, including a double, for the Phillies, who managed just one run through the first eight innings. Rhys Hoskins had two hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th.

One night after catcher J.T. Realmuto left the game with a bruised knee, Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius left in the fifth inning due to right elbow stiffness. Gregorius missed three games in April after landing on the elbow while attempting to make a catch.

“It just kind of acted up,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I imagine he might be out a couple days, like the last time. We’re just going to have to evaluate it (Thursday).”

Andrew Knapp started in place of Realmuto Wednesday and had two RBI-singles.

–Field Level Media

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