Nats inch closer to top seed in win over Phils
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Steve Lombardozzi knocked in two runs and the Washington Nationals inched closer to securing the NL's top seed with a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Nationals, who won the NL East on Monday, can secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win on Wednesday or a loss by the Reds. Cincinnati and Washington will head into Wednesday's action with identical records (97-64), but the Nationals own the tiebreaker for winning the season series. The Reds play at St. Louis.
Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer for Washington, which bounced back from a 2-0 loss in the opener of this three-game series on Monday. The home run gave LaRoche 100 RBI on the year, making him the third player to record a 100-RBI season in a Nationals uniform.
"It's kind of a milestone to reach 100," LaRoche said. "If I would have finished on 99, it would have been a tough pill to swallow looking back at how many opportunities I have had."
Tom Gorzelanny, making his first start of the season for the Nationals, allowed one run on four hits over 3 2/3 innings. Zach Duke (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth to pick up the win.
Darin Ruf hit a pair of solo homers for the Phillies, who are out of the playoff picture for the first time since 2006.
"Coming into the final stretch here knowing that I was going to get to play a little bit, I was just trying to put myself in a spot where I can compete next year in spring training for, if not a starting job, then a spot on the team," Ruf said.
B.J. Rosenberg gave up one run on three hits over four innings in his first start in the big leagues. Josh Lindblom (3-5) allowed two runs on three hits in the sixth to take the loss.
The Phillies (81-80) need a victory on Wednesday to secure a winning record for a 10th consecutive season.
Washington had a great chance to break a scoreless tie in the second, loading the bases with one out. However, Sandy Leon struck out swinging and Gorzelanny grounded out.
Ruf's homer to left field in the fourth gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
But the Nationals tied the game in the bottom half after LaRoche doubled to center field and raced home on Roger Bernadina's two-out single to left field.
Philadelphia had a chance to take the lead back in the sixth after loading the bases with two outs. Duke, though, settled down and got pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz to ground into a fielder's choice.
Washington scored a pair of runs in the bottom half to take go in front for good. LaRoche led off with a homer to right field. The Nationals went on to load the bases. Lombardozzi stepped to the plate with two outs and hit an RBI single up the middle to make it a 3-1 game.
Ruf's homer to left in the eighth made it a one-run contest.
The Nationals, however, got the run right back in the home half. Mark DeRosa doubled, Bernadina was hit by a pitch and Leon walked to load the bases with no outs. After Eury Perez grounded into a fielder's choice, Lombardozzi hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
Drew Storen tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his fourth save of the season.
The Phillies are 9-8 against the Nationals this season ... Philadelphia went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 ... Washington went 2-for-13 with RISP and left 10 men on ... LaRoche, who tied his career-best RBI total, joined Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn as the only Nationals players to reach 100 in that category.
10/03 00:32:05 ET