Phillies snap skid behind Realmuto's slump-busting homer

June 4th, 2023

WASHINGTON -- Matt Strahm and six relievers delivered in a bullpen game and rebounded from a recent slump as the Phillies snapped their five-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday at Nationals Park.

The veteran catcher entered the game mired in a 3-for-43 (.070) rut. But his skipper noticed an adjustment the 32-year-old was focusing on at the plate.

"Timing,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said of Realmuto. “He's got the leg lift [opening] his closed stance. It's all about timing for him."

Said Realmuto: "I did a lot of work before the game in the cage trying to clean up my bat path a little bit, get on time a little better. Try not to lose my barrel in my swing. Felt a little better out there today."

Realmuto’s timing was on target in the sixth, when he slammed a solo homer to break a 2-2 tie.

His fourth home run of the season, and his first since April 30, came on a 2-1 pitch off Nats starter MacKenzie Gore (3-4), flying over the left-center-field wall with an exit velocity of 106.6 mph, per Statcast. Realmuto also doubled to lead off the second and scored on a Josh Harrison single, finishing with an RBI and two runs scored.

"[He] left the fastball middle in,” Realmuto said of Gore’s offering. “I was really just trying to stay up the middle of the field. I knew he had a really good fastball, so [that is] what we were working on before the game. I was just trying to stay on top of it and really just hit a line drive up the middle. That was the thought process. I caught it a little bit out in front and put a good swing on it."

Bryce Harper also had a good day at the plate with a single and a double in four trips. He doubled to lead off the eighth and scored on a Brandon Marsh sac fly.

Philadelphia’s offense pounded out nine hits over six innings against Gore. Former Nats shortstop Trea Turner lined a double into the left-field corner in the third inning to put the Phillies up, 2-0.

"I thought it was a well-played game by us, all around,” Thomson said. “I thought we pitched well, played defense and swung the bats pretty good. [Now] you come out here tomorrow and hopefully win a series and just keep moving forward."

Strahm and six relievers held the Nationals to two runs on seven hits and two walks. Dylan Covey (1-1) notched the win, allowing two runs over two innings. Craig Kimbrel recorded the final three outs for his eighth save of the season.

"The biggest thing is everybody came in and threw strikes,” Realmuto said. “We felt like we got a lot of first-pitch outs. A lot of 0-1 counts, a lot of 0-2 counts. Guys just came in and pounded the strike zone. Even the inning where [the Nats] scored runs, it was early contact, it was pretty weak contact, for the most part. The guys just trusted their stuff and attacked the zone."