Dunn homers in 9th to give Nats 2-1 win over Phillies, who start Rollins as they fine-tune

By Howard Fendrich, AP
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rollins back, Oswalt solid as Phillies fine-tune

WASHINGTON — Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 3 in his first start in nearly three weeks, Roy Oswalt didn’t allow an earned run in five innings, and the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies began preparing for the playoffs with what turned out to be a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

Adam Dunn won it for Washington with a solo shot off Jose Contreras (6-4) leading off the bottom of the ninth. It was Dunn’s 38th homer and came with some fans in the crowd of 19,117 chanting “Sign Adam Dunn!” — because he can leave as a free agent in the offseason.

If the slugging first baseman, who leads Washington in homers and RBIs (with 103), signs elsewhere, Wednesday’s Phillies-Nationals game would be his last appearance at Nationals Park as a member of the home team.

“I’m not going to go into tomorrow going, ‘This is my last home game ever,’ cry, go hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards. I’m not going to do that,” Dunn said. “I don’t know what y’all want me to say. I don’t know what’s going to happen. If I did, I would tell y’all. I do not.”

The result of Tuesday’s game was meaningless, in the sense that the Phillies clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason a night earlier — and the Nationals are assured of finishing last in their division for the fifth time in six seasons.

But there were some matters of importance for the Phillies (94-64), who begin their NL division series at home Oct. 6.

“We’ve got to keep getting our players some playing time,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’ve got to try and keep them sharp.”

That’s why 2007 NL MVP Rollins played 5½ innings at shortstop and batted leadoff. Sidelined by a tight right hamstring, Rollins hadn’t been in the lineup since Sept. 8. He did have one at-bat as a pinch hitter Sunday, but Manuel sat Rollins out Monday because rain made the field slick.

Asked whether Rollins will be the team’s leadoff hitter in the playoffs, Manuel said: “I have no idea. We’ll wait and see how he plays. See how good his timing is; how his swing is; how good he’s playing on the field. He needs to get on the field and play some. Get his rhythm and footwork. Plus he needs at-bats.”

Rollins grounded out in the first and third innings, then singled in the fifth.

“I won’t be 100 percent until next February — probably,” Rollins said after the game. “I just won’t steal bases unless it’s 100 percent a necessity. I want to get as much rest as I can, do as much as I can with it before I have to push it.”

In the field, he originally was charged with an error on a play in which he threw to third baseman Greg Dobbs on a botched rundown that led to a run for Washington in the first inning; later, the scoring was changed, with Dobbs charged for the error and Rollins cleared.

That run — scored without the benefit of a hit — was unearned. Nyjer Morgan walked, stole second, got to third on the rundown play, and scored on Dunn’s groundout.

Oswalt allowed two hits and two walks and left after only 66 pitches. Manuel said he has decided, but isn’t ready to reveal, the order in which he’ll use his three best starting pitchers — Oswalt, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels — in the playoffs. Manuel did announce after the game that Halladay won’t appear again in the regular season.

Nationals starter Jason Marquis left with the scored tied 1-1, having allowed Raul Ibanez’s 16th homer leading off the fourth. Marquis gave up seven hits in six innings in his last start of 2010.

Drew Storen (4-4) earned the win by pitching the ninth inning.

While regulars Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley all played Tuesday, Manuel allowed Jayson Werth, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz a full night of rest, and used Shane Victorino only as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Manuel plans to give other starters days off before the regular season ends Sunday.

After the game, the Phillies said Polanco is leaving the team to go to Philadelphia to have his left elbow checked by the team doctor. Polanco was on the disabled list from June 26 to July 16 with swelling in that elbow.

For the Nationals, the questions are about next season, including whether Marquis will be in the rotation and whether Dunn will be around at all.

NOTES: Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes. … The Phillies clinched a fourth consecutive division championship and the NL’s best record by beating Washington 8-0 Monday. … Utley’s single in the fifth allowed him to reach base for the 27th game in a row.

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