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Teddy wins 1st, Nationals win majors-high 98th

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012
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Rollins sat out Wednesday, when Jackson gave up one run and six hits and left to a standing ovation, one of several on a muggy afternoon with the temperature in the 70s.

"At this point, it's fun facts for the organization," Jackson said about the team's win total. "But at this point, in the postseason, if you lose out, all that gets washed away."

Teddy's triumph ended a losing streak that drew attention even from the White House press secretary and Sen. John McCain. Teddy had lost more than 500 times since 2006, when the Nationals began holding races among 10-foot-tall foam renderings of Roosevelt, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln at home games.

Zimmerman then led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot, Washington's first scoring off Cliff Lee (6-9).

Asked whether he'd been inspired by the outcome of the mascot race, Zimmerman rolled his eyes.

"I am so glad Teddy won, so we can stop talking about Teddy. People get more excited for a mascot race than a game," Zimmerman said, before adding in a voice drenched with sarcasm: "Yes, I'm excited Teddy won. I'm ecstatic."

The next hitter, Michael Morse, doubled and eventually scored. In the eighth, Morse added his 18th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Jonathan Papelbon that drew a curtain call. Morse got treatment after the game for a sore left hamstring, which bothered him on his home run trot.

Lee, who finished with a losing record for the first time since 2007, departed after the sixth. He allowed eight hits and three runs, didn't walk a batter and struck out seven.

In the eighth, Papelbon lost control of a breaking pitch that buzzed near Zimmerman's head, drawing boos from the stands. Papelbon wound up walking Zimmerman, who tipped his cap in reaction to loud cheers as he walked to the dugout, replaced on first base by pinch-runner Bryce Harper. Morse followed with a drive to right-center.

The 19-year-old Harper and first baseman Adam LaRoche were out of the starting lineup — a chance to get a breather before the grind of the postseason begins.

"There's no point to go out there and try to do a little extra, try to play a little harder. For whatever reason in baseball, that has a tendency to work in reverse," LaRoche said. "What we've done up to this point has obviously been good enough."

NOTES: By virtue of the NL's victory in the All-Star game, the league's representative gets home-field advantage against the AL in the World Series. ... The season's total attendance of 2,370,794 — an average of 30,010 — was nearly 50,000 higher than the previous high at Nationals Park, in 2008, the first season at the new ballpark. ... Philadelphia 1B Darin Ruf delivered a sac fly in the fourth. He has driven in all eight Phillies runs in their last four games against Washington. ... Phillies RHP Tyson Brummett made his major league debut in the eighth, allowing two singles and striking out two batters. ... The Phillies' nine winning seasons matched a team record set from 1975-83. They went 81-81 in 1984.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich