WASHINGTON -- Maybe manager Dusty Baker said it best: Trea Turner is a difference-maker. The rookie center fielder proved it once again at Nationals Park on Friday night, when he clubbed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Nationals over the Phillies, 5-4. Washington's magic number dwindled to 14 to win the National League East. The second-place Mets defeated the Braves, 6-4.
With the score tied at 4, Turner battled reliever Frank Herrmann for nine pitches. Turner connected on a 1-2 fastball and hit the ball over the center-field fence to end the game. It was also his second home run of the night.
"I finally got a pitch up in the zone. I put the barrel on it," Turner said. "I'm still laughing at how it ended up over the fence. I felt good."
• Turner unveiling power stroke in MLB
Turner now has eight home runs in 223 at-bats. He had only six home runs in 331 at-bats with Triple-A Syracuse this year.
Baker had nothing but praise for his center fielder.
"Keep it coming. The sky's the limit. He is probably doing some things that even amazes himself," the skipper said. "He just let it flow and let it be. He is playing an outstanding center field. His first two-homer game, his first walk-off homer game. This one he will remember for a long time."
The Nationals blew a three-run lead before Turner's homer ended the game. The score was tied at 1 when the Nationals took the lead in the sixth inning off Philadelphia starter Jake Thompson. After Daniel Murphy doubled with one out, Bryce Harper singled to right field, sending Murphy home. An inning later, Phillies right-hander Colton Murray was on the mound when Turner hit a two-run homer to give Washington a three-run lead.
But Washington's lead didn't last long. In the eighth inning, Koda Glover allowed a three run homer to Cameron Rupp to tie the score at four.
"That kid Turner is a good-looking player," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Solid outing by Roark: Tanner Roark picked up his seventh no-decision of the season. He pitched six solid innings, allowing one run on six hits and striking out eight batters. The run scored in the fourth inning, when Odúbel Herrera scored on a single by Freddy Galvis.
"I felt good. I had good command of all my pitches. I kept them off balance. I was locating and pitching inside. The two-seamer was really working," Roark said.
Thompson takes another step: He did not get the win and he did not pitch six innings, but Thompson continues to make strides following a rough start to his big league career. He had a 9.78 ERA after his first four starts, and he was unable to pitch more than five innings in any of them. But after he allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals, Thompson has a 2.33 ERA (five earned runs in 19 1/3 innings) in his last three.
"I thought I had it," Thompson said.
Glover used in the late innings: According to Baker, Rupp was missing the fastball throughout the game, but Rupp didn't miss his pitch against Glover and tied the game with a three-run homer.
"Glover has been pretty good. That's the first time he has given it up," Baker said. "This guy has electric stuff. … You can second guess the move, but everything doesn't work all the time."
Rupp crushes it: Rupp belted a game-tying, three-run homer to left-center field in the eighth inning. Rupp has struggled lately since hitting .278 with 18 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 38 RBIs and an .831 OPS through Aug. 5. In fact, he had hit a mere .185 with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs and a .515 OPS in his previous 71 plate appearances, entering the game. Perhaps this shot gets him back on track.
"I was ready for it," Rupp said. "I would say I sold myself on getting a fastball there." More >
"It's fun to watch. He is a gamer. He plays as hard as he can for as long as he can. He has been a game-changer for us at the leadoff spot. He is putting everything into it." -- Roark, on Turner
"[The media] is going to be more surprised than I am. I know what I've done over the course of the last how many years. I'm not a power lifter or anything like that, but I feel like I'm stronger than I look. It's a matter of mechanics at the plate. The strength. It's just a matter of mechanics at the plate. The strength is there. It's making your swing better and squaring up the ball." -- Turner, on if he was surprised at his power in the Majors
"I thought about hitting [Tommy] Joseph there or [Darin] Ruf, someone to maybe hit a home run, but my biggest concern was going 14 innings and having to go to those guys. That would be the worst-case scenario for me." -- Mackanin, on Herrmann hitting in the ninth. Mackanin said he hit Herrmann there because relievers Edubray Ramos, Héctor Neris and Jeanmar Gómez have pitched too much recently.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to Statcast™, Turner has more homers of 440-plus feet this season than Anthony Rizzo and the same number as David Ortiz
HERRERA LEAVES WITH BRUISED LEG
Herrera left the game in the fifth inning with a bruised right leg after Roark hit him with a pitch in fourth. X-rays were negative. He is day to day.
Phillies: Right-hander Jared Eickhoff (10-13, 3.86 ERA) faces the Nationals on Saturday night in the third game of a four-game series at Nationals Park. He has pitched six innings in each of his last four starts, allowing three or fewer runs in each of his last three.
Nationals:Max Scherzer faces the Phillies on Saturday night. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET. The right-hander has made himself a Cy Young Award front-runner thanks to an NL-best 243 strikeouts in a league-high 197 innings. After a so-so start to the season, the righty has a 2.18 ERA since June 1, with 153 K's in 123 2/3 innings
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