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The division, one Espinosa called “probably the strongest in baseball,” still runs through Philadelphia. And it will, most likely, until someone else earns the division crown. But the Nationals have now won 10 of their last 12 games against the Phillies, dating back to last season and as they make the quick turnaround for Saturday’s game, they do so as the ones firmly planted in first place, not the Phillies.

All thanks to one hit from the last man who’d planned to get it.

“(The games) kind of have a bigger feeling when you’re playing the Phillies,” Johnson said. “I felt they were the best team in baseball last year. To come in and beat them the first time in our house … it was a big game for us, and I’m sure the Phillies felt the same way, because we’re sitting on top.”

“Right now, it’s just one game,” Desmond said. “We’ve got to go out and play them hard tomorrow, and we’ve got to play the rest of the games for the rest of the season hard. And hopefully there’s meaningful baseball between both of us toward the end of the year.”