PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies added veteran Jose Bautista for his potent bat but it's the confidence he displayed last night that might help even more.
Bautista had the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-6 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Carlos Santana hit a grand slam while Roman Quinn tripled and had three hits for the Phillies, who entered play 4.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Philadelphia avoided a three-game sweep while winning for just the third time in its last 11 games.
“He's an absolute calming presence,” Phillies' manager Gabe Kapler said of Bautista.
“He has a quiet, smooth confidence that resonates in the dugout and wears off on everyone around him.”
Bautista, acquired from the N.Y. Mets a day earlier, made a winner of Seranthony Dominguez (2-5) when his two-out, opposite-field single off Jimmy Cordero (1-1) scored Cesar Hernandez to snap a 6-6 tie.
Dominguez pitched a scoreless seventh.
Being in a tough spot in the middle of a pennant race doesn't faze the 37-year-old Bautista, a six-time all-star with 342 career homers.
“I'm not scared," he said. ”I've played enough games to where every time I'd place a bet on myself if I need to.
“That's just my attitude," he noted. ”It's not a reflection that I'm better than anybody else.
“I'm a competitor and you have to have that mindset.”
Bautista reached base in all four of his plate appearances, drawing a pair of walks and also getting hit by a pitch in addition to the single.
“I'm just hoping to contribute," he remarked. "I'm out there trying to get my job done.”
Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto went deep for the Nationals, who had won three-straight games.
“The boys are playing hard, with a lot of intensity, a lot of energy,” manager Dave Martinez said.
“Come back Friday and let's go after it.”
Tommy Hunter tossed two scoreless innings while facing just five hitters for his third save.
Hunter was the last of seven Phillies' relievers.
“Somewhat heroic, starting with Tommy Hunter and working back,” Kapler said of the bullpen.
Hunter helped the Phillies escape a jam in the eighth.
Wilmer Difo led off with a single off Pat Neshek and Bryce Harper, pinch-hitting after not starting due to sickness, walked against Luis Avilan.
Kapler brought on Hunter, the eighth Phillies' pitcher and third in the inning, with runners on first and second and no outs.
Hunter got pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds to fly out before Adam Eaton grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Hunter's mindset was simple. “Get outs, that's it,” he said.
Rhys Hoskins' two-out RBI double in the bottom of the eighth gave the Phillies a two-run cushion.
Santana's two-out drive to centre in the fifth put Philadelphia on top 6-5.
It was his third career grand slam and first since Sept. 18, 2015.
The Nationals, after giving up a pair of runs in the second, scored five-straight times to take a three-run lead.
Soto hit a two-run homer to left as part of Washington's four-run third inning for his 16th of the season, and the 19-year-old tied Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth all-time for home runs by a teenager.
Elsewhere in the NL, Milwaukee topped Cincinnati 13-12 (10 innings), Pittsburgh blanked St. Louis 2-0, and Arizona beat San Francisco 3-1.
Chicago split a doubleheader with New York, winning the first game 2-1 (11 innings) before losing the nightcap 10-3.
San Diego beat Seattle 8-3, Boston bombed Miami 14-6, Tampa Bay upended Atlanta 8-5, and the L.A. Dodgers downed Texas 3-1 in interleague play.