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Nats inch closer to Mets

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PHILADELPHIA—Bryce Harper and the Nationals kept their slim playoff chances alive.

Harper belted his 40th homer of the season, Jayson Werth went deep twice, and Gio Gonzalez tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts to lead Washington to a 12-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies last night.

Werth and Harper each had four home runs in the three-game sweep of Philadelphia to help the Nationals pull within 7.5 games of the Mets in the NL East with their fourth-straight victory.

“We have to keep grinding and keep winning,” Harper stressed.

Darin Ruf homered for Philadelphia, which has dropped seven-of-10.

Gonzalez (11-7) allowed two runs on five hits with a pair of walks in seven innings.

But he preferred to put the spotlight on Harper.

“He plays hard, plays like he’s having fun,” Gonzalez noted.

“It’s just unbelievable and fun to watch.”

Alec Asher (0-4), making just his fourth career start, was tagged for four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Werth put the Nationals up 2-0 in the fourth with a drive to left-centre, then lead off the sixth with a solo homer.

Harper then connected on a two-run, opposite-field shot with one out in the seventh.

“We need to win all of these games,” Werth stressed.

“It’s pretty much a must-win the rest of the way.

“A lot has to happen and we need to win every night.”

Elsewhere in the NL, Chicago edged Pittsburgh 3-2 (12 innings), Miami upended New York 6-0, St. Louis edged Milwaukee 5-4, San Diego nipped Arizona 4-3, L.A. blanked Colorado 2-0, and San Francisco beat Cincinnati 5-3.

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