Kyle Schwaber, Zach Wheeler beat Phillies over Nationals in rain-shortened game

Philadelphia The Phillies scored another key win as they tried to end an 11-year playoff drought, using three-pointers from Kyle Schwaber and Bryson Stott, plus Zach Wheeler Five scoreless innings, an 8-1 win over the Washington Nationals in the rain on Sunday — shortened the game.

The six-inning win helped Philly take three-quarters from the worst Nationals after a five-game losing streak to improve the score to 86-73.

The Phillies and interim coach Rob Thomson started Sunday with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers for their third and final wild-card berth in the National League. Milwaukee faces Miami — The Phillies’ official Twitter page reads “Miami Marlins Stan Account.”

After Sunday, both Philadelphia and Milwaukee have three games remaining: Philadelphia vs. Houston and Milwaukee vs. Arizona. If they finish the game, the Phillies will have a tiebreaker over the Brewers.

Fans opened their umbrellas in the pouring rain that started the third inning and bundled up in 50s temperatures. They watched as players slipped on the slick edge of a muddy infield where the grass met, or navigated puddles — really pools — along warning tracks.

When Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins went down, a Nationals hitter ended up with a double and couldn’t function on someone who would normally be a regular bouncer. That helped Washington get the win in the sixth inning. When that inning was over, the tarp was pulled out. After waiting almost 1 1/2 hours, the game was called.

Wheeler (12-7) had seven strikeouts, no walks, and only two hits: a double from Ildemaro Vargas in the third and a double from César Hernández in the fifth. Wheeler has given up one hit and nine hits in 15 innings in three starts since returning after a month on the injured list with tendinitis in his right forearm.

Stott hit an RBI in the second and two in the fourth, while Schwaber homered twice Saturday to increase his NL lead total to 44 and three in the fifth. Singles.

Bryce Harper, 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 Nationals MVP, who is still booed on his former court, hit a run for the Phillies and JT Realmuto contributed his 22nd home run.

Southpaw Patrick Corbyn, who helped Washington win the 2019 World Series, gave up seven hits and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings Sunday to finish the year with a 6-19 record and a 6.31 ERA.

It was the Nationals’ 104th loss of the season, the biggest since the team moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.

The Phillies won the NL East every year from 2007-11 and won the World Series in 2008. But they haven’t returned to the playoffs since that game.

coach room

Phillies: INF Edmundo Sosa (right hamstring strain) is available for live batting practice Monday. … LHP Brad Hand (left elbow tendonitis) threw from 120 feet of flat and could work on the mound Monday.

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Phillies: Thomson didn’t say which starting pitchers will face the AL West champion Astros. Houston’s likely starters are Lance McCullers (4-1, 2.38 ERA), Justin Verlander (17-4, 1.80) and Framb Valdez (16-6, 2.89). “It’s a challenge, and you have to be ready for it,” Thomson said, “because if you go, that’s what you’re going to get next week. So go get it.”

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

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