PHILS PEN COUGHS UP 3 LEADS: IS RELIEF ANYWHERE IN SIGHT?!

By Sam Bush

Starlin Castro hit a go-ahead, two-run single off closer Hector Neris in the ninth inning and the Nationals rallied three times to beat the Phillies 13-12.

It was the first game in major league history that featured a grand slam and three-run homer for each team.

Josh Bell answered Andrew McCutchen’s slam with one of his own as the Nationals overcame deficits of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-11.

Kyle Schwarber hit Washington’s three-run homer and Travis Jankowski had one for the Phils Bryce Harper also connected for the Phillies.

After Ronald Torreyes gave the Phillies a 12-11 lead in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single, Neris allowed consecutive singles to Bell and Josh Harrison to start the ninth and Alex Avila’s sacrifice moved the runners.

Castro then lined a single to center to put Washington ahead to stay as Neris (1-4) blew his fifth save in 15 tries.

Paolo Espino pitched the ninth for his first career save after Tanner Rainey (1-2) got the last two outs in the eighth.

The Phillies jumped on Nationals starter Erick Fedde, who had thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings before Jankowski crushed his first homer since Sept. 26, 2018, in the second.

But Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez, who retired the first 10 batters before Trea Turner lined a double with one out in the fourth, couldn’t get past the fifth.

The Nationals scored five off Velasquez and Archie Bradley in the fifth and six more off Sam Coonrod and David Hale in the sixth..

Schwarber, who struck out his first two at-bats, smashed an 0-1 pitch off Bradley the opposite way for his 19th homer and 10th in 12 games.

Coonrod walked the bases loaded and struck out two batters before giving way to Hale. Trea Turner hit a two-run single to cut it to 9-7. After Juan Soto walked to load the bases again, Bell blasted one the opposite way to left-center for an 11-9 lead.

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