The Washington Nationals are 15 games below .500, but they are trending in the right direction
After winning two of three against both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, they returned to the East Coast and defeated the host Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Friday
Stone Garrett hit a two-run homer and had two hits for the Nationals on Friday. Dominic Smith contributed three hits, and Lane Thomas added two hits and a walk
"They play hard for 27 outs," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of his players
After Washington right-hander Josiah Gray gave up one run in six innings, Mason Thompson, Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey held Philadelphia scoreless over the last three innings. Harvey tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save in 12 chances.
The Nationals will hand the ball to MacKenzie Gore (4-6, 3.89 ERA) on Saturday. In Gore's latest start, on Sunday against the Padres, the left-hander allowed five hits and one run while striking out nine in an 8-3 win
"That was fun. That's cool," Gore said after the outing. "I think a little bit of everything (was working). The fastball, obviously, was good. But I threw some sliders in there with strikeouts. So just solid."
Gore is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Phillies. He lost to Philadelphia on June 3 after allowing three runs in six innings
The Nationals promoted left-handed pitcher Jose A. Ferrer from Triple-A Rochester on Friday and placed left-hander Patrick Corbin on the bereavement list
"Very excited, very excited," the 23-year-old Ferrer said of reaching the majors for the first time. "This is a dream come true. Something you dream of since being a little boy."
The Phillies will attempt to even the series as ace right-hander Zack Wheeler (6-4, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound
Wheeler struggled mightily in his latest start as he gave up nine hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings during a no-decision against the New York Mets on Sunday.
In his career against the Nationals, Wheeler is 10-14 with a 4.59 ERA in 29 starts. He escaped with a no-decision at Washington on June 2 after yielding seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings
In their one-run loss on Friday, the Phillies went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base, an ongoing struggle for the offense this season
"We just didn't get it done," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. "We had opportunities. These are the things we've got to do. We've got to clean that up.
The Phillies certainly had chances. Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and Bryce Harper each had two hits -- but only one of the team's eight hits (a Bohm double) went for extra bases
Harper saw his career-worst power drought continue, as he hasn't hit a home run since May 25. He has only three homers this season.
To be fair, Harper returned early from Tommy John surgery, only 160 days after undergoing the procedure in November.
"I think he's trying to do too much," Thomson said. "I'm expecting at any point now that he's going to get it going. He's going to find his stroke. He's going to find his launch angle. He's going to start hitting like Bryce Harper."
Trea Turner successfully swiped another base and is 18-for-18 in stolen bases during his first season with Philadelphia.
"He's been more aggressive as of late," Thomson said. "He's getting on base more and starting to run and create energy."
Despite the loss, the Phillies completed June with an 18-8 mark to put themselves back in playoff contention
--Field Level Media