PHILADELPHIA (AP)The Phillies replayed highlights from Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Pete Rose and all the big plays from the 1980 World Series championship team on the big screen. The occasion was a celebration of the first World Series winner in franchise history, yes, but it couldn’t help but serve as a reminder of just what might lie ahead for this year’s team.
The Phillies noticed. Ace Zack Wheeler sought out Carlton for photos and autographed baseballs. Others hung over the dugout rail with as much interest in the festivities as the fans who actually remembered the 1980 parade.
”It was super cool to see,” rookie Darick Hall said. ”It’s crazy to think that those guys were us not too long ago, doing the same thing we’re doing.”
These days, that means win.
Hall hit two home runs and Nick Maton and Rhys Hoskins each hit two-run homers to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 13-1 win on Sunday.
Maton drove in four runs, Bryson Stott had three RBIs and the Phillies scored five runs in the fourth and eighth innings.
Aaron Nola (8-8) struck out five and allowed one run in six innings to put the Phillies (60-48) 12 games over .500 for the first time since August 2018.
The Phillies failed to make the playoffs that season, part of a postseason drought that has lasted since 2011. But on a day when the Phillies honored the 1980 World Series champions, this year’s homer-happy team showed that perhaps the longest playoff absence in the National League might finally end.
They are 10-1 since July 27.
”It’s nothing against the teams we’ve had here in the past,” Hoskins said, ”but I think we have a better team.”
Hall hit a pair of solo homers against Washington starter Cory Abbott (0-1) to play his part in the long-ball barrage against the Nationals. Hoskins homered in all four games.
The Phillies hit 14 homers in the four games, their most in any single series in franchise history. The previous record was set last season with 13 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Phillies brought back a large portion of the roster from the 1980 champs, including Rose.
The 81-year-old Rose popped his head out of the stairwell near the visitor’s dugout and instantly heard screams of ”Pete! Pete!” Rose turned and waved and pointed at fans as they snapped photos of baseball’s hit king. Rose received some light boos as he waited in line behind his former teammates but that turned into a rousing standing ovation from about 28,000 fans when he was introduced by public address announcer Dan Baker.
Rose returned to a Philadelphia baseball field for the first time since receiving a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in 1989. The Phillies had planned to induct Rose into their Wall of Fame in 2017 until those plans were scrapped because of a woman’s claim she had a sexual relationship with him when she was a minor.
Rose called a female reporter who asked him about the accusations ”babe” and turned prickly later when pressed on them.
”I’m going to tell you one more time: I’m here for the Philly fans, I’m here for my teammates, OK,” Rose told reporters. ”I’m here for the Philly organization and who cares what happened 50 years ago. ”
Rose then went on the TV broadcast and cursed several times and used crude, locker room terms including when talking about fellow announcer former Phillies first baseman John Kruk, a testicular cancer survivor.
His appearance at Citizens Bank Park overshadowed what should have been a true celebration. Yes, for the 1980 champs, but also for this year’s team and a sweep that has them positioned down the stretch for a serious run at an NL wild-card berth. The Phillies can pad their record with a three-game set this week against the Marlins.
”It’s a complete effort and as long as we’re doing that, we’re going to win a lot of games,” interim Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.
Nationals claimed OF Alex Call off waivers from Cleveland and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester. Call, 27, made his major league debut for the Guardians this season, playing in 12 games.
Nationals 1B Luke Voit has reached base in 17 straight games. Otherwise, it was a brutal series for Washington.
”The last three games were just not fun,” manager Dave Martinez said. ”We haven’t swung the bats that badly. Today was as a little different. But you think about who’s pitching, Nola’s been pitching well.”
The Nationals send RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-4, 7.65 ERA) to the mound Monday for the start of a three-game series in Chicago against Cubs RHP Keegan Thompson (8-5, 3.48).
The Phillies are off Monday. They send Zack Wheeler (10-5, 2.69 ERA) to the mound Tuesday for the start of a three-game home series against the Marlins and LHP Braxton Garrett (2-5, 3.88).
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