That's because the reigning World Series champions suffered a bigger loss before the game when Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas was found unconscious in the team's booth a few hours before the game, and the Phillies announced he passed away at 1:20 p.m. ET.
"I'm sure everybody in Philadelphia is kind of sad right now," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I loved listening to Harry. He's a treat. He always held your interest."
On a normal day, the Phillies (4-3) would have a lot to celebrate. They hit three homers, most notably Ryan Howard's tiebreaking shot in the seventh, a three-run blast off Saul Rivera (0-1) that gave them the lead for good. It was his first homer this season, and Raul Ibanez added a solo shot later in the inning for an 8-4 lead before a sell-out crowd of 40,386 at Nationals Park.
That home run gave Ibanez his 800th career RBI.
Shane Victorino also hit his first homer this season, a solo shot off Washington starter Daniel Cabrera in the third for a 3-2 lead. The victory was the team's third in a row, and Philadelphia is 3-1 on a six-game road trip to Colorado and Washington.
Starter Jamie Moyer (1-1) got the win, giving up four runs on eight hits as he battled through six innings. The left-hander gave up single runs in the first, second, fourth and fifth, but escaped major damage.
Moyer helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to left in the second inning for his first RBI this season. But nothing came easy on this day as even closer Brad Lidge had some problems.
Lidge recorded his second save, but gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman that cut the lead to 9-8 with none out in the ninth. Lidge settled down after that, striking out Adam Dunn and Elijah Dukes and getting Nick Johnson to ground to Howard at first for the final out.
Washington fell to 0-7 this season.
Still, this was a somewhat hollow victory for the Phillies as there weren't many smiles in their clubhouse.
"He was a great broadcaster; I consider him a friend," Moyer said quietly. "It's very unfortunate what took place today."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.