The Phillies were buoyed by a strong start from Aaron Nola, who threw five innings with five strikeouts, and allowing six hits, no walks and no runs; on only 67 pitches. The Nats' Stephen Strasburg was better, showing off the Number One pick that once dwelt within his arm and is allowed out on weekends, striking out 13 over eight innings, with only one run on three hits and a walk against.
Washington opened the scoring in the sixth, after Nola's departure, with Ian Desmond grounding into a fielder's choice against Adam Loewen, scoring Bryce Harper from third. The Phillies answered back in the eighth, as Brian Bogusevic drilled a double off Strasburg, scoring Darin Ruf.
The score would remain locked at 1-1 through the ninth, despite the hope from some that a certain relief pitcher would be forced to eat all the crow.
Papelbon warming in the bullpen. It could happen. Papelbon could take the loss in the game that eliminates the Nationals from the playoffs.— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) September 26, 2015
Alas, this didn't happen. Papelbon allowed a hit and a walk, but was otherwise unscathed.
And so tied things would remain until the twelfth, when, with Anthony Rendon on second, Harper doubled to right. Game over.
The Nationals, despite their elimination, are now 79-75. The Phillies drop to 58-97, and with only seven games remaining, are looking like a solid bet to lose 100 on the year. Their "magic number" for the first overall pick in the 2016 draft is down to four. Hooray.
As an aside, here's where I was yesterday:
Where did the road go?
Seven games to go. We got this. Goodnight folks.