Trailing 2-1 in the top of the fifth, the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs against Nationals' starter John Patterson. Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate and swung at a first-pitch high fastball and popped it into left field to end the potential rally and blow the Phillies first opportunity.
Three innings later, the Phillies again loaded the bases with two outs and this time it was Bobby Abreu at the plate. Abreu was called out on a check swing that replays showed was clearly a bad call, blowing the Phillies second opportunity.
In the bottom of the inning, an error on first baseman Ryan Howard led to two runs for Washington as they extended their lead to 4-1 and brought on Chad Cordero to close out the game in the ninth. Cordero, who has 43 saves on the season, was promptly greeted by a base hit to left field from Pat Burrell. Ryan Howard then took a low, outside pitch and sent it just over the glove of a leaping Marlon Byrd in left field for his 13th homerun of the season and to bring the score to 4-3. David Bell was up next and hit a long homerun to left to tie the game with nobody out. Cordero then settled in and put the Phillies down in order from there to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The Phillies third opportunity came in the top of the 11th when they loaded the bases with one out. David Bell was forced at the plate on a Rollins ground ball to first base and Kenny Lofton then hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Aquilino Lopez (0-1) came on to pitch the bottom of the 12th and walked Jose Guillen with one out. A wild pitch sent Guillen to second and a base hit by Preston Wilson drove home Guillen with the winning run.
Starter Eude Brito pitched four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the Phillies' fifth inning rally. Geoff Geary threw three shutout innings, giving up no hits and just one walk in the outing to keep the Phils close.