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WSH@NYM: Zimmermann tosses five solid frames vs. Mets

The Nationals' playoff window isn't completely shut, but it is narrowing.

With a one-run loss to the Phillies on Friday night -- not to mention a win for the Reds, who are in line to take the National League's second Wild Card spot -- Washington dropped to 5 1/2 games back of Cincinnati in the Wild Card race. The Nationals will try to narrow that gap in Sunday's series finale at Nationals Park.

"We've just got to win," outfielder Bryce Harper said. "We gotta play our game and if we don't win, it doesn't matter. We can't worry about what they're doing, we've got to win ballgames. If we don't win, it really doesn't matter."

Washington will send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to the hill to take on fellow righty Tyler Cloyd for the series rubber match.

Zimmermann is trying to become the first 18-game winner in the National League after battling a rough stretch midway through the year, when he endured neck stiffness. He's since won three of his last four outings.

The Phillies will counter on Sunday with Cloyd, who recently replaced Ethan Martin in the rotation. Cloyd's last start did not go well, as he allowed nine hits and seven runs over four-plus innings against the Padres.

Cloyd will give Philadelphia a chance to play spoiler against the Nationals, who still have plenty to play for this season. With a Reds win on Saturday, the Phillies were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

"The players know, let alone it's in our division and the history of it," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said of playing the spoiler role. "The players realize that. They talk about that, a lot of conversation about that."

The Phillies are 5-18 in their past 23 road games since July 20.

Phillies: Brown could start
• Sandberg said Saturday that Domonic Brown possibly could start Sunday, which would be his first since Aug. 30 as he recovers from a right Achilles issue. Brown pinch-hit both Friday and Saturday night.

• Philadelphia's win on Saturday snapped a five-game losing streak at Nationals Park.

Nationals: Span streaking
Leadoff man and center fielder Denard Span wasted no time extending his career-high hitting streak to 25 games on Saturday, when he singled to lead off the bottom of the first.

Over the stretch, Span has hit .387 (41-for-106) with five doubles, two triples, two homers, seven RBIs and 18 runs scored. The streak has raised his average from .258 to .283.

Colorado's Michael Cuddyer's 27-game streak was the only one longer this season.

Worth noting
• Philadelphia are 2-6 in Washington this season. Comments