The way Nick Pivetta looked at it, he owed his teammates a favor.
Pivetta lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his start Friday night. So, with the Phillies out of available relievers in the 13th inning of Sunday's marathon against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, he volunteered — practically begged, according to manager Gabe Kapler — to come out of the bullpen and pitch.
"They had to [pick up the slack] when I pitched last," Pivetta said, "so I thought I might as well give it a try."
Ordinarily, Pivetta would have thrown his between-starts bullpen session Sunday. But with two days off this week (Monday and Thursday) and Pivetta's next start not scheduled until Friday night in Pittsburgh, the Phillies conveniently decided to push back his throw day.
And so, Pivetta entered the game — his first major-league relief appearance and the fourth of his professional career — and retired Juan Soto, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy to keep the game tied for Andrew Knapp to hit the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 13th.
"He fought to get in that game today," Kapler said of Pivetta. "He asked every couple minutes if he could go down to the bullpen. He wanted the opportunity bad. And when he came off the field, he suggested that he could give us more. He was just the absolute team player today, and I was incredibly impressed."
Pivetta wouldn't have pitched the 14th inning. Kapler was prepared to put third baseman Jesmuel Valentin on the mound, move catcher Jorge Alfaro to third base and keep Knapp in the game behind the plate.
Righthander Vince Velasquez' pitching arm was predictably sore after being hit by a line drive Saturday, so the Phillies elected to place him on the 10-day disabled list.
"Not really trying to be too pushy with it," Velasquez said. "We're just going to play it safe."
With the light schedule this week, the Phillies won't absolutely need to fill Velasquez's spot in the rotation until a July 9 doubleheader against the Mets. They would also need a starter for July 10. It's not clear whether the Phillies will go with only four starters until July 9.
Velasquez said his phone has been buzzing with reaction to his lefthanded strike to first base to throw out Trea Turner at first base after the line drive hit him. After watching the replay "like 20 times," he declared his ambidextrous feat "mind-blowing."
Veteran reliever Pat Neshek was reinstated from the disabled list and made his season debut in the seventh inning. He gave up a hit to Mark Reynolds before getting Pedro Severino to ground out.
"I think my stuff's going to play out there," said Neshek, who has been sidelined by shoulder and forearm issues. "But like every season, when you come from spring training it takes a couple [outings] to get back in that groove."
Rhys Hoskins made his second start of the season — and first since April 18 — at first base. It didn't last long, though, with Carlos Santana pinch-hitting for pitcher Jake Arrieta in the fifth inning and staying in the game, shifting Hoskins back to his regular left-field spot. … Righthander Jake Thompson threw three scoreless innings after being recalled from triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier in the day. Lefty reliever Zac Curtis was optioned. … After a day off, the Phillies will host the Baltimore Orioles in a two-game interleague series beginning Tuesday night. Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA) will oppose Orioles righthander Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.75).