Nationals 2, Phillies 1

Adam Dunn has been saying for some time he’d like to remain with

the Washington Nationals, even though he can become a free agent.

He also insists he doesn’t know whether he’ll stay or go.

The fans at Nationals Park are making their feelings on the

matter clear.

Dunn hit a game-ending homer off Jose Contreras leading off the

ninth inning Tuesday night to give last-place Washington a 2-1

victory over the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies, who were

more interested in seeing Jimmy Rollins go 1 for 3 in his first

start in nearly three weeks.

Each of Dunn’s at-bats Tuesday was greeted with chants of ”Sign

Adam Dunn!” from some in the crowd of 19,117.

If the slugging first baseman leaves, Wednesday’s

Phillies-Nationals game would be his last appearance in Washington

as a member of the home team.

”I’m not going to go into tomorrow going, ‘This is my last home

game ever,’ cry, go hand out Adam Dunn baseball cards. I’m not

going to do that,” Dunn said. ”I don’t know what y’all want me to

say. I don’t know what’s going to happen. If I did, I would tell

y’all. I do not.”

Dunn, who previously played for the Reds and Diamondbacks, said

he appreciates the fan support he’s received in Washington and

noted: ”It’s not like they’re waiting for you to make a mistake,

like other places I’ve been.”

When he won the game with his 38th homer and his 103rd RBI, both

team highs, by driving a 2-0 pitch from Contreras (6-4), the other

Nationals streamed out of the dugout and gathered around home plate

to greet Dunn with slaps on the back and punches to the gut.

”I didn’t see the ball land,” said Drew Storen (4-4), who

pitched the ninth to earn the win. ”I started fist-pumping right

after he hit it, just because I could tell.”

Later, in the clubhouse, Dunn bristled at questions about his

future.

”If you guys realized how sick and tired I am of talking about

it, you probably wouldn’t ask me every day,” he said. ”I wish it

would have been over a long time ago. It’s not the worst thing that

ever happened to me, (but) my job is to play, and my agent’s job is

to worry about the rest.”

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman seemed to indicate before the

game he thinks Dunn will wind up staying in Washington.

Afterward, Riggleman said: ”This thing is going to play itself

out. I don’t know where it’s going to end up.”

Dunn’s dramatics aside, the result of Tuesday’s 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 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 5 1/2 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.

Rollins grounded out in the first and third innings Tuesday,

then singled in the fifth.

”I won’t be 100 percent until next February – probably,”

Rollins said. ”I just won’t steal bases unless it’s 100 percent a

necessity. I want to get as much rest as I can, do as much as I can

with it before I have to push it.”

Roy Oswalt allowed two hits and two walks and no earned runs in

five innings, leaving what he expects to be his last regular-season

start after only 66 pitches.

”He got his work in,” Manuel said. ”I liked the way he

pitched.”

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. Manuel did announce

after the game that Halladay won’t appear again in the regular

season.

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.

Polanco is leaving the Phillies to go to Philadelphia to have

his left elbow checked by the team doctor. Polanco was on the

disabled list from June 26 to July 16 with swelling in that

elbow.

NOTES: The Phillies clinched a fourth consecutive division

championship and the NL’s best record by beating Washington 8-0

Monday. … Nationals starter Jason Marquis left with the score

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. He finishes with a 2-9 record.