PHILADELPHIA — Another shaky performance by the bullpen didn’t cost the Nationals a game this time.
Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth hit homers to back Max Scherzer and the Nationals held on for a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.
Scherzer (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits, striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings. He left with a six-run lead, but the relievers allowed four runs, a day after giving up leads in the eighth and ninth innings in a 4-3 loss to Miami in 10 innings.
“We’ll figure it out,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re still in the process of figuring out where to slot guys. It would’ve been devastating to lose that game.”
Aaron Altherr hit a two-run homer off Sammy Solis in the seventh to get the Phillies within 7-4 and Freddy Galvis hit a two-run shot off Blake Treinen in the ninth to cut it to 7-6. Treinen eventually finished for his third save after Galvis went deep.
Koda Glover did his job in the eighth, retiring three straight batters after entering with two men on.
Scherzer, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, waited until the fourth game to take the mound because a broken knuckle set him back in spring training.
The injury didn’t bother him against the Phillies, who fell to 3-11 in home openers at Citizens Bank Park.
Scherzer retired the first 10 batters before Howie Kendrick hit an opposite-field double in the fourth. He ran into trouble when he walked two batters in the seventh.
“There’s a lot I can improve upon and sharpen up,” he said.
Vince Velasquez (0-1) struck out 10, but allowed four runs and five hits in four innings. He hasn’t won a game since last July 8.
“I did a bad job,” Velasquez said. “I was all over the place. I had no command of my pitches.”
The defending NL East champion Nationals are off to a 3-1 start while the Phillies have lost three in a row after winning their opener.
Harper hit a two-run shot in the first and Murphy ripped a two-run drive in the third. Werth made it 7-0 with a three-run homer off Joely Rodriguez in the fifth.
“One through eight, we’re swinging the bat really well,” Harper said.
“I’m just happy to be back in Philadelphia. I always loved this place. The fans and the ballpark mean a lot to me,” Werth said about getting booed. Werth was a key member of Philadelphia’s 2008 World Series champion team, but left in free agency after the 2010 season.
Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin struck out six in five scoreless innings in a rehab start with Single-A Clearwater on Thursday. He began the season on the disabled list following surgery on both knees in the offseason.
Nationals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2015 with Kansas City, will start Saturday night. The team has to make a roster move to accommodate him.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola makes his first start. Nola was 5-4 with a 2.65 ERA in his first 12 starts last year and 1-5 with a 9.82 ERA in his last eight before he was shut down in August because of elbow trouble. Nola is 0-3, 5.40 in six starts vs. Washington.
The Nationals are 9-1 in Philadelphia since 2016. They’re 15-5 against the Phillies overall in that span.
The Nationals have nine homers in four games.
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