PHILADELPHIA – The net result, for the Philadelphia Phillies, was a very strange win.
In a bizarre scene, stadium workers using tractors scrambled to hoist the protective screen behind home plate after it suddenly collapsed Sunday, interrupting Philadelphia’s 12-6 victory over the Washington Nationals.
“I was in shock,” said Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, who hit his 100th career home run.
Several innings after Washington pitcher Austin Voth suffered a broken nose when he was hit trying to bunt and plate umpire Brian O’Nora was forced to leave after being struck in the mask by a foul tip, things went haywire.
“The net falls on our heads,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after the conclusion of a game that lasted nearly 4 1/2 hours. “That’s the topper.”
Trea Turner was batting with two outs and nobody on in the eighth inning when the netting behind home plate and over the two dugouts at Citizens Bank Park sagged towards the field without warning.
No one appeared to be hurt in the mishap.
“I don’t know if the rope snapped or what," Realmuto said. "I saw out of the corner of my eye after that pitch. I didn’t know how to respond to it. And when I saw it, I thought there was no way that we were going to continue playing.”
Both teams stood on the dirt around their dugouts as the members of the Phillies grounds crew played a game of tug of war with the wiring, which is connected by guide wires to the facade of the second level.
Tractors were used in the infield to help pull the wiring up before it was eventually connected to allow the game to resume after a 20-minute delay.
“They did a nice little pully system when they did that and walked it up the stairs,” Realmuto said.
Said Phillies manager Joe Girardi: “I thought our grounds crew did a great job getting it back up."
Voth, who started in the game in place of Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg in a bullpen game, was injured in the third when he was hit by a pitch from Vince Velasquez while squaring around to bunt.
Voth exited with a towel covering a gash across his inside of his nose after the ball appeared to deflect off the bill of his batting helmet. He was to spend the night in a Philadelphia hospital getting his nose reset.
“He’s in pain,” Martinez said. “He won’t be able to do anything for a few days. Then, they’ll re-evaluate. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. It was really scary. I almost fell over a seat on the bench just to get out there.”
Velasquez suffered from command issues, allowing three runs on three hit batters, four hits and two walks in four innings.
“It’s tough when you see something on TV and see guys get hit in the head, it’s scary,” Velasquez said. “But when you visually see it first hand, it can be traumatizing and tough."
“Some things managed to get away from me,” he said. "I feel terrible for Voth. It can be traumatizing on both ends.”
O’Nora was hit in the mask in the top of the first by a foul off the bat of Josh Bell. O’Nora was examined by Philadelphia’s trainers and stayed in the game, but called time and rushed down the ramp in the Phillies dugout after a few pitches to Odubel Herrera to lead off the bottom of the first.
There was no word on O’Nora’s condition postgame. He was replaced behind the plate by crew chief Fieldin Culbreth, resulting in a nine-minute delay.
“He played it off really well and tried to stay in the game. I knew he wasn’t right just trying to talk to him after that,” Realmuto said. “And then, he felt like he had to throw up after that. I think he’s doing all right now, but that was tough to see.”
A dropped popup by second baseman Jordy Mercer helped the Phillies score seven runs in the fourth for a 7-3 lead.
Realmuto hit a three-run drive off Tanner Rainey. Brad Miller also homered for Philadelphia.
Victor Robles hit two doubles and scored three times for Washington.
Sam Coonrod (1-2) got the win. Kyle Finnegan (2-1) took the loss.
GETTING A GRIP
Martinez made it clear he's not a fan of Major League Baseball’s plans to crack down on pitchers using foreign substances to maintain a better grip on the baseball.
“I hate to bring it up, but you will see more of that if we keep messing around with the stuff about the balls,” Martinez said. “I mean, really. They’ve been trying to clean some stuff up. But it’s hot, it’s slippery, guys are sweaty.
“I know that Velasquez didn’t throw intentionally. But I’m afraid that if we don’t come up with something unified for that, you see a lot more of that. And that’s a scary feeling because these guys throw 95, 96, 97 – some guys throw 100. Hopefully they will come up with some kind of happy medium to resolve the whole baseball issue with the sticky stuff," he said.
Nationals: C Yan Gomes was out of the Washington lineup for the fourth straight game because of hamstring tightness. Martinez said that he believes Gomes could be back on Tuesday in Tampa Bay. … Eric Fedde threw five innings on Saturday night in a rehab appearance for Washington’s Class A affiliate in Wilmington. He is expected to make a start next week for the Nationals in place of Strasburg, who has gone on the injured list with a neck strain suffered earlier this week in Atlanta.
Phillies: Philadelphia placed pitchers Chase Anderson and David Hale on the COVID-related injured list. In their place, Hector Neris was activated off the paternity list and left-handed reliever Cristopher Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Sanchez made his major league debut, allowing one hit while striking out two in 1 1/3 innings.
Nationals: Begin a two-game set at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Phillies: Host Atlanta for three games starting on Tuesday.
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