By Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Austin Voth threw his first career complete game and earned his first victory in 10 starts this season, and the Washington Nationals staved off playoff elimination with a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday.

Philadelphia (27-28) is in the eighth and final playoff spot at .4909, just ahead of Milwaukee and San Francisco (26-27) at .4906. The defending World Series champion Nationals (22-32) have only a distant chance of reaching the postseason.

Voth (1-5) posted season highs in innings (seven) and strikeouts (seven), allowing three hits and one run. It was a welcome effort for the Nationals, who were playing their third doubleheader in five days.

“I feel like I’ve been chasing that for a while,” Voth said of the complete game. “More importantly, just going deep into the game today. I felt like with the doubleheader and how our bullpen is, it gave them a little bit of a rest. I’m ecstatic right now.”

Philadelphia’s defensive woes didn’t help Aaron Nola (5-4), who yielded five runs (three earned) in six innings while striking out six. Washington collected an unearned run in the first when Juan Soto reached on left fielder Mickey Moniak’s error and scored on Asdrúbal Cabrera’s single.

Andrew Stevenson and Trea Turner opened the third with back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0. After an intentional walk and a fielder’s choice grounder, Brock Holt smacked a hard grounder down the right-field line to score a run. Bryce Harper, playing the field for the first time since leaving Sunday’s game with back discomfort, misplayed the ball in the corner to let in another run.

Holt scored on Luis Garcia’s infield single two batters later to make it 5-0.

Jean Segura homered in the fourth for Philadelphia, which lost three in a row.

“It’s always frustrating not being able to execute,” Nola said. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, we still have to go out and compete. Things haven’t been falling our way, but we’re still taking it game by game. I don’t think we’re out of anything.”

The doubleheader included a makeup of an Aug. 27 game postponed as a response to racial injustice in the wake of the death of Jacob Blake, a Black man, while in police custody in Kenosha, Wisconsin, four days earlier.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez said infielder Howie Kendrick (left hamstring strain) still wants to return this week but has reached a “stalemate” in his recovery.

“He’s definitely pushing to come back and at least DH one game or play or something,” Martinez said. “We’ll see how he feels.”

29th men: Philadelphia added lefty Ranger Suarez as its 29th man for the doubleheader. Suarez is 0-1 with a 20.25 ERA in three appearances this season. … Washington brought up righty Wil Crowe (0-2, 11.88) as its 29th man. Crowe’s three appearances this season have come as a starter in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

Up Wednesday: Phillies righty Zach Eflin (3-2, 4.28 ERA), who tossed a seven-inning shutout against Toronto in his last outing, is 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in eight lifetime starts against Washington…. Nationals righty Erick Fedde (2-3, 4.36) threw six shutout innings in his last start Friday at Miami and drew the nod as the four-game series was set to conclude.

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