Nats secure history with 100th loss

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Down 7-1 and the crowd of 44,145 in a frenzy, the Nationals did put a brief scare into the division leaders.

Washington scored a pair of runs in the fifth, then got a big - albeit controversial - blast from Casto an inning later. The rookie tagged a pitch from starter Joe Blanton deep to right, then watched as a fan reached out to attempt to catch the ball.

It was immediately ruled a home run, but after Phillies manager Charlie Manuel argued, three-fourths of the umpiring crew retreated under the stands to take another look at the play in the only the fifth instance to date of instant replay in baseball history.

The crew needed only two minutes and 17 seconds to return to the field and render its decision: The call stood.

“I’m sure they got a better look up there with their replay system,” Casto said. “They made the right call.”

Casto also was front and center for the night’s other controversial moment. Leading off the ninth, he convinced plate umpire Andy Fletcher he had foul-tipped strike three into the ground, a decision that sent Manuel into a tizzy, which eventually got the Philadelphia manager ejected.

Manuel’s time in banishment didn’t last long. Closer Brad Lidge still struck out Casto and then retired the side to end the game, make the Nationals’ 100th loss official and give a dugout full of rookies a taste of meaningful late-September baseball.

“For a young guy, it was great to come here and play,” Montz said. “It was awesome.”

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