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Desmond's grand slam wins it for Nationals in 11 innings

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - After losing twice in as many nights to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Washington Nationals talked a good game.

On Wednesday night they played one, rallying for a 6-2 victory on Ian Desmond's 11th-inning grand slam.

The Nats, who had forged a 2-2 tie when Jayson Werth singled home a run with two outs in the ninth off Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon, averted a sweep and halted a three-game losing streak. It came on the last day of a 4-5 road trip.

"It was a big win," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "We really needed it. And the Phillies, we needed to show them we're still hanging around."

Johnson was among those who spoke up after Washington lost the first two games of the series, telling a Washington radio station earlier Wednesday, "These guys (Phillies) like to beat us maybe as much as we like to beat them. But I hate to lose in this ballpark, boy, I hate to lose to the Phillies. You know, they've always been a great team, but we're a better team. We need to beat these guys."

And after Tuesday's 4-2 loss, Werth told reporters, "We've gotta show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody's face."

Werth, an ex-Phillie, had not only the game-tying hit but an RBI single in the seventh of Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. But Desmond was hitless in four at-bats, with three strikeouts, before he came to the plate against Philadelphia reliever Michael Stutes (2-1) with the bases full in the 11th.

"I was just trying to come through for my guys," Desmond said. "I was kind of bringing down the line the whole night."

He said he also tried to adjust his swing.

"It was getting better throughout the game," he said. "I was able to come through with a good at-bat."

The Phillies reacted angrily when a 1-2 pitch to Desmond was called a ball by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Desmond ripped Stutes' next offering into the left-field seats for his 10th homer of the year.

Drew Storen (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief to earn the victory.

With one out in the 11th Ryan Zimmerman doubled. Stutes intentionally walked Adam LaRoche and also walked Werth, loading the bases.

The dramatic finish followed a pitchers' duel between the two starters, Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick and Washington's Gio Gonzalez.

Kendrick allowed two hits and one run over 7 2/3 innings, while Gonzalez surrendered hits to the first two batters he faced -- the second a two-run homer by Michael Young -- and did not allow another hit in seven innings of work.

Gonzalez logged a season-high 11 strikeouts -- three each of Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown -- while walking two.

Kendrick, who retired 16 straight hitters in one stretch, allowed only a leadoff single to LaRoche in the second and an RBI single to Werth in the seventh. The only other baserunner permitted by Kendrick was Zimmerman, who drew a one-out walk in the seventh.

Kendrick struck out six and generated 13 groundball outs, but with a 2-1 lead gave way to Antonio Bastardo, who recorded the last out of the eighth.

Papelbon allowed an infield single to Denard Span to start the ninth, and two outs later walked LaRoche. Werth grounded his single through the left side of the infield to bring Span home.

"That's a tough one to swallow," said Papelbon, who blew his second save in three nights. "To get beat by two infield hits and a walk, that's a tough one to swallow.

He also bemoaned the Phillies' continuing fundamental lapses.

"I'm seeing some of the same mistakes that we make," he said. "For us, we've got to go out there and make the fundamental plays we're supposed to make."

Young homered on a 2-2 pitch from Gonzalez in the first. It came after Ben Revere led off the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

NOTES: Phillies 2B Chase Utley, out since May 20 with a strained oblique, began a rehab assignment at Double-A Reading on Wednesday. Manager Charlie Manuel said that if all goes well, Utley will be activated Friday or Saturday, during the Phillies' series against the Mets. ... Young's homer was his third of the season and raised his career RBI total to 1,001. He became the 19th active player to drive in more than 1,000, and the 242nd in major-league history to reach that milestone since RBI became an official statistic in 1920. ... The Phillies saw a six-game home winning streak come to an end.

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