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 fans chanting "Sign Adam Dunn!" — because he can leave as a free agent in the offseason.
The result of the 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. 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.
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.
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.
The slugging first baseman, who leads Washington in homers and with 103 RBIs, can become a free agent this offseason, and his at-bats were greeted with supportive cheers from some spectators in the crowd of 19,117. If Dunn signs elsewhere, Wednesday's Phillies-Nationals game would be his last appearance at Nationals Park as a member of the home team.
Before Tuesday's game, though, manager Jim Riggleman indicated he doesn't expect to see Dunn leave.
"I don't even think that's going to happen. I really don't," Riggleman said. "I certainly don't sit here going into the future thinking that these last two will be Adam's last games."
NOTES: Riggleman was ejected in the seventh inning. ... 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. ... In his first public comments since having elbow surgery Sept. 3, Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg said he had his cast removed about two weeks ago, has been getting his range of motion back, and "should be starting the actual rehab process shortly." ... Washington GM Rizzo said C Jesus Flores (right shoulder surgery) is "getting back in the swing of catching every day" in Instructional League action. "We think he's on the recovery road back," Rizzo said.