‘CONSTANT’ RHYS IS THE PIECE PHILS HAVE NEEDED TO CATCH THE METS!

By Sam Bush

Are the Phillies for real?

Or is their latest success more because the Nationals are so bad and they have traded away the heart of their team and less because the Phils have figured out how to catch the Mets?

If you’re a long-disappointed Phillies fan you don’t care.

Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in three runs, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Phillies extended their winning streak to four games with a 9-5 victory over the Nationals.

“Rhys is a constant,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said.

The Phils are 55-53 and two games over .500 for the first time since July 18, when they were 47-45. And they are 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The Phillies erased an early 3-0 deficit and set up a chance for a four-game sweep today.

“I don’t think there was much of a change in the dugout,” Hoskins said. “It’s the third inning. We’ve seemed to be able to score a lot early and score a lot late throughout the season.

“We, as a group, didn’t miss pitches in the middle of the plate the next time through.”

Nationals reliever Jefry Rodriguez hit Hoskins with an up-and-in pitch in the top of the seventh. Hoskins motioned to the Phillies’ dugout, then looked at Rodriguez before going to first base. Gregorius hit a 412-foot home run on the next pitch. Hoskins began yelling at Rodriguez before the ball cleared the fence, prompting Rodriguez to yell back.

Philadelphia used four doubles to build a four-run fourth inning and take a 4-3 lead. Andrew Knapp, Travis Jankowski, Jean Segura, and Hoskins all doubled in the inning. Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single.

Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 24th of the season.

Luis García and Carter Kieboom hit back-to-back homers against Philadelphia starter Chase Anderson in the second, giving Washington an early three-run lead.

Victor Robles’ first career leadoff homer came on Anderson’s first pitch Wednesday night. The homer was just the second of the season for Robles, a one-time top prospect who struggled in 2020 and is doing so again this season. The Nationals are using the rest of the season to assess prospects, and also giving the 24-year-old Robles a chance to bat leadoff after mostly hitting ninth in his short career.

Anderson pitched three innings, allowed three earned runs on three hits (all homers), walked one, and struck out one.

“We expect this,” said Anderson of the recent run. “We went into spring training wanting to win this division.”

The 21-year-old García also homered to left field in the seventh inning for his first career multi-homer game.

“It is a very good sign,” García said, through an interpreter. “It’s something I worked hard this offseason on a lot.”

Matt Moore (1-3) picked up the win in relief.

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