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Nationals beat Phils, claim home-field advantage in playoffs

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals appear ready for the postseason.

Smacking three home runs, the Nationals took down the Phillies, 5-1, to clinch the No. 1 seed in the National League playoffs.

Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse went deep to support Edwin Jackson (10-11), who allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings.

"It was a good win; don't have to make five-hour plane trip, that is great," said manager Davey Johnson, who left the dugout in the sixth inning with soreness in his leg. He was given aspirin and says that he will be fine.

The Nationals won a franchise-best 98 games in 2012 and earned home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Their 98-64 record was the best in the majors, barring the Cincinnati Reds result against the St. Louis Cardinals later Wednesday. Washington will host Game 1 of the NL division series Sunday at St. Louis or Atlanta.

"This is a great season, great team and good group of guys," Zimmerman said. "We accomplished a lot that we should be proud of, but we have a lot more to accomplish, hopefully."

The Phillies finished a disappointing 81-81, ending a run of nine straight seasons with a winning record. After the game, they didn't waste much time making changes. The team announced coaches Sam Perlozzo, Pete Mackanin and Greg Gross would not be retained.

Manager Charlie Manuel said there could also be roster changes.

"We are going to try to get better and we are going to try to get back to compete to where we definitely feel like we can compete and win our division, and have a chance for a world series. That has always been our goal," Manuel said.

Philadelphia scored first in the fourth inning when Carlos Ruiz doubled and eventually came home on a sacrifice fly by Darin Ruf.

The Nationals answered in the bottom of the frame. Zimmerman led off with his 25th homer of the season, taking a Cliff Lee (6-9) fastball out to right field. Morse and Moore followed with back-to-back doubles for a 2-1 Nationals lead.

Moore added his 10th homer of the season, a mammoth shot to left to lead off the sixth. Facing Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth, Morse slammed a two-run shot, his 18th of season, that gave the Nationals a 5-1 advantage.

Jackson allowed six hits and struck out six in his 31st start of the season. The right-hander became the fifth Nationals' starter with at least 10 wins this season.

"That is him. That is vintage Edwin Jackson, great breaking ball, live fastball," Johnson said.

NOTES: Johnson said Stephen Strasburg won't be on the postseason roster. ... The Nationals will have some position players at their training facility in Florida and three or four pitchers working out in D.C. during the postseason in case they are needed. ... Nationals' left-hander John Lannan still is under consideration because of his success against the Atlanta Braves in his career. He is 9-5 overall and 5-3 at Turner Field. ... The Phillies and Nationals split the season series, 9-9. ... Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins sat out the Nationals series with a sore calf.
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