WASHINGTON (AP) — Patrick Corbin pitched six effective innings, and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 on Monday night to strengthen their playoff positioning.
Adam Eaton, Yan Gomes and Trea Turner homered for Washington, which moved a half-game ahead of idle Milwaukee for the top spot in the wild-card standings. The Nationals reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to three.
Philadelphia was pushed to the brink of elimination after beginning the season with great expectations after signing former Washington slugger Bryce Harper to a blockbuster deal. The Phillies have to win their final seven games while Milwaukee or Washington loses out to have any hope of reaching the wild-card game.
Corbin (14-7) matched his career high for wins in the first season of a $140 million, six-year contract. He allowed one run and three hits, struck out six and walked four.
Corbin elicited his loudest cheer of the night when he struck out Harper to end the third. The former Nationals star, who is playing his third series in Washington since joining the Phillies in March, was booed before each of his plate appearances. He went 1 for 3 with a walk.
Corbin also won 14 games in 2013 and 2017 while pitching for Arizona.
Eaton hit his career-high 15th homer in the first. Gomes went deep in the second and Turner connected in the third against Zach Eflin (9-13). Eaton finished with three hits in the opener of a five-game series.
Eflin was charged with five runs and eight hits in five innings
Washington’s Anthony Rendon drove in two runs to take over the major league lead with 122 RBIs, one more than Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and the Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu.
Phillies: C J.T. Realmuto was out of the lineup with right knee soreness. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam. “I don’t want to take any chances,” Realmuto said. “I don’t see it being anything too serious. I should feel better tomorrow.” … RHP Juan Nicasio (rotator cuff tendinitis) could be available in the next few days, manager Gabe Kapler said. . RHP Seranthony Dominguez (elbow) threw a bullpen session. . OF Roman Quinn (groin strain) ran 80-yard sprints and could return later this week.
Nationals: C Kurt Suzuki (elbow) threw hard from 120 feet on back-to-back days and for the third time in four days. Bench coach Chip Hale said Suzuki was on track to start the second game of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (12-6, 3.75 ERA) is “very likely” to start Tuesday’s second game, Kapler said. Philadelphia has not named its other starter for the doubleheader.
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-4, 6.17 ERA) gets the nod in the first game in his first appearance since Sept. 2. RHP Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.81 ERA), who has 19 strikeouts in 12 innings against Philadelphia this season, will get the ball in the night game.