The Washington Nationals got their 97th win of the season in the penultimate game of the regular season, coming from a 1-0 deficit to beat the Philadelphia Phillies in front of a home crowd of well over 33,000 at Nationals Park on a wet D.C. evening.
Nats first baseman and slugger Adam LaRoche crushed his 33rd home run of the season, this one a solo shot, and drove in his 100th RBI, the third player in Nats history to reach the century mark. Teammate Ryan ZImmerman and former first baseman Adam Dunn are the other Nats to knock in 100 runs, each doing it twice.
Cy Young hopeful Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start tonight, but with manager Davey Johnson concerned about the possibility of having to pitch his ace in game one of the NLDS on only three days of rest, Gio sat and was was replaced on the mound by southpaw Tom Gorzelanny. It was the first start of the season for the 30-year-old hurler and he went 3.2 innings, gave up four hits, one earned run, walked two and struck out five.
Davey Johnson decided to rest most of his starters, with Adam LaRoche as the only starter who played more than five innings. In the bottom of the sixth LaRoche led off and crushed a Josh Lindblom pitch into the right field bullpen, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead. Steve Lombardozzi, who got the start at second base, drove in another run in the 6th inning putting the Nats up 3-1.
Phillies rookie Darin Ruf hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth and the top of the eighth innings to provide the visitors with all their runs.
Apart from LaRoche, centerfielder Bryce Harper was the only other everyday starter to open the game. Harper, who won NL Rookie of the Month honors earlier today, went 1 for 3 and stole his 18th base.
Thick fog rolled into Nationals Park as reliever Drew Storen came on to close out the game in the top of the ninth. With a 2-run lead and seeking his fourth save of the season, Storen efficiently finished the game, getting Kevin Frandsen to ground out, John Mayberry, Jr. to hit the ball back to the mound, and pinch hitter Daynce Mix to bounce an easy out to short. That was the ballgame, improving Washington's record to 97-64, with the regular season concluding tomorrow.