PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Spencer Kieboom hit his first major league home run after losing a tooth earlier in the day, Erick Fedde pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning and the Washington Nationals beat the fading Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
The doubleheader was needed once Monday’s night’s game was postponed because of poor field conditions from weekend rain. The grounds crew used blow torches to dry a field that had not been covered with a tarp and players described as “spongy” and “soft.”
It’s the Phillies who are stuck in the mud.
The Phillies, who were 15 games over .500 in early August and in the thick of NL playoff race, have lost three straight games and are 6-15 since Aug. 18. They began the day five games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
Kieboom spit while he walked to the plate in the fifth inning, prompting many people to think he’d spit out a tooth. It was just a big spitball, and the rookie catcher pointed to a gap in his teeth as he jogged back to the dugout after hitting a solo homer.
Kieboom lost half a temporary tooth earlier at breakfast when he bit into a baguette. The other half was stuck in his gums, and he’s waiting on veneers.
With 20 active pitchers, Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler nearly gave them all a turn. The game slowed to a crawl in a four-pitcher fifth.
Nick Pivetta (7-12) gave up Kieboom’s homer to right and a single to Fedde before he was yanked after one out and 91 pitches. Luis Avilan struck out one batter and was then relieved by Luis Garcia. After a walk, Kapler was at the mound for the hook again, signaling for lefty Adam Morgan to face Bryce Harper.
Harper hit an RBI single to right that made it 2-0, but was tagged out after he made too wide a turn around first and tried to slide back.
Hector Neris started the sixth and worked an inning. Tommy Hunter allowed one run over two innings and Austin Davis tossed a scoreless ninth as the last of seven pitchers.
Fedde (2-3), making his second start since he missed two months with a sore right shoulder, tossed one-hit ball through five until he ran into trouble in the sixth. He allowed a two-out single and a walk and was relieved by Justin Miller, who retired Andrew Knapp to end the rally.
The late afternoon start resulted in a sparse crowd for the first pitch. The 40-plus-person Phillies contingent in front of the dugout for the national anthem was larger than the bunch of fans in the upper deck.
COMING UP SHORT
The Phillies used four shortstops.
The Phillies have played four doubleheaders this season, their most since 2011. They’ve played three at Citizens Bank Park since the All-Star break.
MOVING ON UP
The Phillies recalled RHP Drew Anderson, RHP Enyel De Los Santos and LHP Ranger Suarez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61 ERA) goes against Tanner Roark (8-15, 4.23) in the nightcap.
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