Nola's big outing nets Girardi 1,000th win

Nola tosses season-high 113 pitches to help skipper reach milestone

August 27th, 2020

Phillies manager Joe Girardi needed one more inning from his ace on Wednesday night at Nationals Park, so he pushed him.

delivered. He pitched a perfect seventh inning to preserve a one-run lead in a 3-2 victory over the Nationals. It helped secure the 1,000th victory in Girardi’s managerial career. Girardi became the 16th-fastest manager in baseball history to reach 1,000 victories, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, reaching the milestone in his 1,808th game. Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto handed Girardi the ball from the game’s final out and the 55-year-old skipper stuffed it in his pocket.

“I’ll put it in a case and just put it away,” Girardi said. “It means a lot. My daughter, Lena, asked me about it. I said, ‘A lot of times, you don’t have a chance to enjoy things until the season calms down and it’s over, because you’re onto the next day.' And that’s my personality anyway. But the players did a really nice thing for me.”

The Phillies got Girardi a nice bottle of champagne with "1,000 wins" on the label. Bryce Harper made a toast.

“It brought a tear to my eye,” Girardi said. “Because I just feel that I’ve really been blessed.”

“It was a heartfelt speech, it was awesome,” Nola said. “Everybody knows Joe, his resume. He’s been in the game a long time. We’re glad to play under him. A great manager, a great person.”

Girardi would have needed to wait at least another day to celebrate if not for Nola, if not for a rare late-inning comeback, if not for Brandon Workman working out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nola endured the shortest start of his career Friday in Atlanta, pitching just 2 2/3 innings. Bad games happen, even to the best pitchers in baseball. But Nola redeemed himself on Wednesday. After he allowed a solo home run to Juan Soto in the second and back-to-back walks to start the fourth that led to a run and the Nationals taking a 2-1 lead, Nola retired nine of 11 batters to finish the sixth inning at 99 pitches.

“He felt good,” Girardi said about having Nola pitch the seventh. “He got through that inning 1-2-3. I got a little worried because there was a long at-bat in there and I’m going, 'Oh, the pitch count, the pitch count, the pitch count.' That’s always the thing that worries me the most when someone gets over 100 -- that someone drops a really long at-bat on them.”

Nola finished with 113 pitches, eight more than any Phillies starter had thrown this season.

“It was kind of a grind for me the whole game, honestly,” Nola said. “But I feel like I came back and got some crucial outs.”

The Phillies were 0-10 when they trailed after six innings this season, but the Nationals helped them back into the game.

Didi Gregorius laced a ball to left field to start the seventh inning. Soto dove for it but missed. The ball rolled behind him and Gregorius reached third for a triple. He scored the game-tying run on Alec Bohm’s single to right. Later in the same inning, Andrew McCutchen hit a ball to deep right-center field with Roman Quinn on first and one out. Center fielder Victor Robles and right fielder Adam Eaton collided and the ball dropped between them to put runners on first and second.

Harper’s two-out single to left scored Quinn to hand the Phillies the lead.

Workman made Girardi sweat it out for No. 1,000. The new Philadelphia reliever allowed a leadoff double to Howie Kendrick in the ninth. He put runners at the corners with one out before striking out Eric Thames and Robles to end the game.

“Everybody knows the type of person Joe is,” Harper said. “He’s been in the game for a long time, from the Marlins to the Yankees to us. I mean, he’s a great manager, he’s a great person, he’s a great family man, as well. One-thousand wins. I mean, that’s an incredible milestone, an incredible feat for any person, for any manager. I think he turned it around, as well, and said he wouldn’t be here without the players because he wouldn’t have any wins or losses without us.

“He’s always given back to us, always given back to his community. For him to come back to baseball and get No. 1,000 with the Philadelphia Phillies, that’s a pretty incredible feat. I’m just as excited and happy for him as a person and as a manager. Hopefully we can get 1,001 tomorrow.”