PHILADELPHIA — Jake Thompson and four relievers combined to hold the Washington Nationals in check, and the Philadelphia Phillies spoiled Bryce Harper's return with a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
With the loss, Washington locked itself into the second seed in the NL playoffs behind the Dodgers. The Nationals will host the NL Central champion — either the Cubs or Milwaukee — in a Division Series beginning Oct. 6 at Nationals Park.
The win ensures that Philadelphia (63-95) will not lose 100 games. The Phillies haven't hit the century mark since 1961, when they lost 107 of 154 games.
Thompson (3-2) gave up a run over five innings, then Edubray Ramos, Adam Morgan, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris combined to strike out nine over four perfect innings. Neris got his 25th save.
Harper played for the first time since hyperextending and bruising his left knee on Aug. 12. He was 0 for 2 with a walk before being lifted in the fifth inning.
Tommy Joseph had two hits, including a tying RBI single as part of a three-run third inning. Cameron Rupp followed with a line drive that sailed over the head of outfielder Michael Taylor in centre field, bouncing to the wall to bring home both Aaron Altherr and Joseph.
Rhys Hoskins added a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the Phillies.
Howie Kendrick, who was traded from Philadelphia to Washington on July 28, connected on his ninth homer in the second inning for a 1-0 lead. Washington didn't get a hit after the third inning, though.
Neris ended the game by striking out the side in the ninth. It was his 19th straight save, the longest streak for the club since Jonathan Papelbon converted 19 straight in 2014-15.
Gio Gonzalez (15-8) allowed three runs in five innings.
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy was held out by manager Dusty Baker for a second straight game due to soreness in his hamstring. Baker said the move was precautionary.
The Nationals and Phillies will meet for the final time in 2017 on Wednesday. Washington will send RHP Tanner Roark (13-10, 4.41) to the mound. He will be opposed by Phillies RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-6, 4.69).
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