WASHINGTON (AP) - Avoiding a close pitch led to the Washington Nationals tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. Getting plunked an inning later propelled them past the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ian Desmond hit a tying homer with two outs in the ninth inning, then Jonny Gomes was nicked by a pitch from Brad Lidge with the bases loaded in the 10th, giving the Nationals an unlikely 5-4 win on a rainy Sunday.
It was the second improbable victory in three games for the Nationals. They beat the Phillies, who have the best record in the majors, with a six-run rally in the ninth Friday night.
``Any time you can beat what I consider probably the best team in baseball it's a plus,' Washington manager Davey Johnson said. ``There's just no give up in this ballclub. It's always fun to beat the best.'
Desmond was feeling like anything but the best after Saturday's game, when his two-out error led to the Phillies' first two runs in a 5-0 win.
Less than 24 hours later, an RBI single by Michael Martinez put the Phillies ahead 4-3 in the ninth. With two outs, Desmond was down to his final strike when he instinctively avoided being hit by a slider from Antonio Bastardo, who pitched the ninth with regular closer Ryan Madson given the day off.
On the next pitch, Desmond sent a soaring drive into the stands for his fifth home run of the season. The shot quieted the pro-Phillies crowd at Nationals Park and had Desmond shooting his arm into the air.
``Last night was a hard night's sleep for me,' Desmond said. ``I told myself today I'm going to come out and try to put that behind me. When I touched first base and put my hand up I was, 'Yes, that's how you come back.'
Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a game-ending grand slam on Friday night, started the 10th with a leadoff double against Lidge (0-1). Michael Morse was walked intentionally and Jayson Werth, after striking out three times, singled to load the bases.
Danny Espinosa fanned for the first out. A 1-0 slider from Lidge veered inside - and Gomes didn't budge.
``I'm definitely hanging in. It comes all the way back to my junior college days. it was hard-nosed, dirtbag baseball,' Gomes said.
``Normally, that's a pitch for me when I release it - I know what it's going to do,' Lidge said. ``It didn't go where I thought it was going to go.'
Gomes was happy it didn't.
``Getting hit was last on my to-do list that at bat, but it worked out,' Gomes said.
Sean Burnett (4-5), the sixth Washington pitcher, pitched a scoreless 10th.
The win broke a streak of eight straight winning road series by the Phillies.
The Nationals got off to a 2-0 lead in the first off Roy Halladay. Desmond's leadoff double set up Zimmerman's sacrifice fly and Espinosa's run-scoring single, his first RBI since July 17.
Carlos Ruiz homered off Chien-Ming Wang in the second, tying it at 2. Chase Utley's ninth home run put the Phillies ahead 3-2 in the third.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, lightning and heavy rain caused a delay of 1 hour, 11 minutes.
When play resumed, Tom Gorzelanny replaced Wang and faced one batter.
On track for his NL-leading 16th win and fourth this year against Washington before the rain came, Halladay allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out five and hitting a batter.
After the delay, Halladay was replaced by Michael Schwimer, who made his major league debut. He allowed a home run to Espinosa on the second pitch he threw.
Schwimer pitched three innings and struck out four.
In his fifth start since missing more than two years after shoulder surgery, Wang allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out four and walked one.
NOTES: Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins left in the third inning with a strained right groin. He'll have an MRI exam Monday night. ... Espinosa had three hits ... Zimmerman has reached base in 27 straight games. ... It was the third rain delay in the last four games for the Nationals. Friday's game was stopped for 2 hours, 22 minutes, and the start of Thursday's Reds-Nationals game was also delayed by 30 minutes. ... LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3) will start Monday for Washington. LHP Joe Saunders (8-10) is scheduled for Arizona.
The Associated Press News Service
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