by Chris Lingebach and Brian TinsmanBy Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON — The Nationals walked off against the Phillies on Sunday, taking the three-game series sweep in Washington and claiming a four-game lead over the Mets in the NL East.

But it wasn’t the easiest way of winning.

Trouble started for the Nationals when, tied 3-3 with the Phillies in the top of the ninth inning, Jonathan Papelbon gave up the go-ahead homerun — a solo shot — to Maikel Franco on a 2-2 slider, giving Philly the 4-3 edge.

The Nationals battled back in the bottom half of the inning, led by a Bryce Harper one-out single to the right side of the infield. The throw from Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez pulled Tommy Joseph off of first base (a Philadelphia challenge confirmed the safe call).

Danny Espinosa followed Harper with a single, giving the Nats runners on first and second. After a Ben Revere lineout, Clint Robinson — pinch-hitting for Michael Taylor — walked to load the bases.

Werth roped a 2-2 sinker to center field for a single, bringing home Harper and Espinosa for the game-tying and game-winning runs:

Werth was mobbed by teammates on the field, with Revere, then Michael A. Taylor, Tanner Roark and then closer Jonathan Papelbon giving him celebratory back slaps. But the best part was still yet to come.

Speaking to MASN correspondent Dan Kolko after the game, Werth said, “Well, I knew I was in trouble when I saw ‘The Strangler’ coming at me.”

“Who’s ‘The Strangler’?” Kolko followed up.

“You know, ‘The D.C. Strangler,'” Werth said.

“We’ll move off that,” Kolko said.

Nice. The good news is that it’s now officially OK to laugh about the Bryce Harper-Jonathan Papelbon brouhaha, not only in the clubhouse but in post-game interviews. That makes it fair game for everyone:

Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Remember this day. It’s a great day to be a D.C. sports fan.

 

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