Schwarber, Wheeler lift Phils over Nats 8-1 in rainy game

Kyle Schwarber drives in three runs with a single in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) ((Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images))

The Philadelphia Phillies picked up another key victory as they try to end an 11-year playoff drought, using three RBIs apiece from Kyle Schwarber and Bryson Stott, plus Zack Wheeler's five scoreless innings, to beat the Washington Nationals 8-1 Sunday in a rain-shortened game.

The six-inning win helped Philadelphia take three of four from the worst-in-the-majors Nationals to improve to 86-73 after getting to town on a five-game losing streak.

The Phillies and interim manager Rob Thomson began Sunday with a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the third and final wild-card berth in the National League. Milwaukee was facing Miami — and the Phillies' official twitter page carried the name "Miami Marlins Stan Account" for the occasion.

After Sunday, Philadelphia and Milwaukee both have three games left: Philadelphia at Houston, and Milwaukee hosting Arizona. The Phillies hold the tiebreaker over the Brewers if they finish even.

Fans opened umbrellas during a downpour that began in the third inning, and bundled up against a temperature in the 50s. They watched players slip on the slick edge where the muddy infield met the grass or navigate puddles — pools, really — along the warning track.

One Nationals hitter ended up with a double when Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins fell and couldn't make a play on what normally would have been a routine bouncer. That helped Washington get a run in the sixth; when that inning ended, the tarp was pulled out. After a wait of nearly 1 1/2 hours, the game was called.

Wheeler (12-7) had seven strikeouts and no walks and allowed just two hits: doubles by Ildemaro Vargas in the third and César Hernández in the fifth. Since returning after a month on the injured list with right forearm tendinitis, Wheeler has given up one run and nine hits in 15 innings across three starts.

Stott delivered an RBI groundout in the second inning and a two-run double in the fourth, while Schwarber — who homered twice Saturday to take his NL-leading total to 44 — added a three-run single in the fifth.

Bryce Harper, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 MVP for the Nationals who still hears boos in his former ballpark, hit a run-scoring single for the Phillies, and J.T. Realmuto contributed his 22nd homer.

Left-hander Patrick Corbin, who helped Washington win the 2019 World Series, gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings Sunday, closing this year with a 6-19 record and 6.31 ERA.

This was the 104th loss of the season for the Nationals, the most since the franchise moved to Washington from Montreal in 2005.

The Phillies won the NL East every year from 2007-11 and earned a World Series title in 2008. But they haven’t returned to the postseason since that run.


Phillies: INF Edmundo Sosa (strained right hamstring) could take live batting batting practice Monday. ... LHP Brad Hand (left elbow tendinitis) threw from 120 feet on flat ground and might work off a mound on Monday.


Phillies: Thomson has not said which starting pitchers will face the AL West champion Astros. Houston's probable starters are Lance McCullers (4-1, 2.38 ERA), Justin Verlander (17-4, 1.80) and Framber Valdez (16-6, 2.89). "It's a challenge and you've got to be up for it," Thomson said, "because that’s what you’re going to get the next week if you're in. So go get ’em."

Nationals: Finish with a three-game series at the New York Mets. Washington starts RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11) against Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95) on Monday.