Phillies force decisive Game 3 in GCL

Six straight hits in the fourth inning send Phillies to 5-4 victory

(Jerry Hale/

By John Parker / Special to | August 31, 2008 9:36 AM

The Phillies strung together six consecutive hits in a five-run fourth inning and hung on to beat the Nationals on Sunday, 5-4, to even the best-of-three Gulf Coast League Finals at one game apiece.

Nationals starter Jack McGeary struck out six in 3 1/3 innings, but yielded hits to the first six batters in the decisive fourth inning. A wild pitch by reliever Bobby Hansen plated the fifth Phillies run before Graham Hicks was able to douse the flames for the Nationals. He allowed one hit in 3 1/3 frames.

The biggest blow for the Phillies was a two-run double off the bat of catcher Sebastian Valle -- the only extra-base hit they mustered in the game.

Phillies starter Kyle Slate allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts in four innings, before rain halted play on Saturday. Reliever Ebelin Lugo gave up two runs on four hits in three frames to pick up the win when play was resumed today.

The Nationals got three hits each from third baseman Ronnie Labrie and designated hitter Johnathan Ramirez and out-hit the Phillies 12-8.

The Nationals took advantage of two walks and two errors in the ninth to score a run and draw to within one, but with bases loaded and two outs Phils reliever Ryan Bergh induced a groundout from pinch-hitter Adrian Nieto to notch the save and even the series. A winner-take-all third game later on Sunday will decide the Gulf Coast league champion.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More