Joseph, Hernandez give lead, ‘pen can’t close

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WASHINGTON — Daniel Murphy lined a double into the left-field corner that sent Bryce Harper racing around the bases to score the game-winning run from first base in a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Phillies in 10 innings on Friday afternoon at Nationals Park.

Both the Nationals and the Phillies have endured bullpen struggles to begin the 2017 season; they entered the day ranked 27th and 23rd, respectively, in bullpen ERA across the Majors. Philadelphia has already made a change at closer when they removed right-hander Jeanmar Gomez from the role earlier this week. Still, the Phillies called upon Gomez to hold a tie game for two innings. After a scoreless ninth inning, he surrendered a leadoff single to Harper followed by Murphy’s walk-off hit.

Each starting pitcher was making his second consecutive outing against the opposing team. Aaron Nola cruised to a victory in his first start against the Nats with the benefit of a 12-run first inning, but he pitched well overall in that start. He was even better in five strong innings Friday where he struck out seven and yielded his only run in the second inning, on three consecutive hits and an RBI single by Matt Wieters.

Nats right-hander Stephen Strasburg turned in his best outing of the season. He allowed two runs — a solo homer from Tommy Joseph in the second and a run-scoring single from Cesar Hernandez in the fifth — but he struck out eight over seven innings. Strasburg finished with 111 pitches, more than he threw in all but two starts last season.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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