WASHINGTON - A visibly and understandably frustrated Ryan Howard chucked his bat and spiked his helmet into the turf tonight at RFK Stadium.

He had just struck out to end the eighth inning.

Howard hardly knew then that he and the Phillies would be in worse shape later. He pulled up lame running to first base to beat out a double play in the 10th inning of a 5-4, 13-inning loss to the Washington Nationals.

The defeat dropped the Phillies to 3-10 for the first time since 1997, and made them the worst team in major-league baseball after the lowly Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers.

The Phillies haven't been 3-11 since 1982.

Howard remained in the game because the Phillies had no bench players left, and limped even worse as he unsuccessfully tried to beat out another double play in the 12th.

It was not immediately known how serious the injury was.

But after the maligned Phillies' bullpen threw six scoreless innings, the Nationals finally struck off righthander Francisco Rosario in the 13th. Chris Snelling popped up a ball in shallow center field, but Jimmy Rollins could not make the over-the-head basket catch and it fell for a hit. Michael Restovich then doubled to left to put runners on second and third, and Felipe Lopez's sacrifice fly to left scored the winning run.

Once again, the Phillies' offense came up short.

They were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Their top four hitters - Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Howard - went a combined 2 for 21 with three walks.

The Phillies were moments from another nine-inning loss when Pat Burrell, who started a two-run rally in the seventh inning with a leadoff single, hit a leadoff single in the ninth off closer Chad Cordero. Wes Helms followed with another single to put runners on first and second. Pinch-runner Michael Bourn and Helms each advanced on Aaron Rowand's sacrifice bunt to put the tying run 90 feet away.

Carlos Ruiz bounced a ball to second, which allowed Bourn to score easily and tie it at 4-4.

It was Cordero's second blown save in 19 opportunities since last season's all-star break.

Before Bourn touched home, it looked as if the Phillies would let another opportunity slip past them.

That's been their M.O. so far.

Victorino singled and stole second with one out in the first but could not score.

Rod Barajas singled and scored on Adam Eaton's two-out double to left in the second to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead, but after Eaton's double, Nationals righthander Jason Bergman retired the next 13 batters he faced.

Burrell snapped that hitless run with his single to center in the seventh. After Rowand doubled down the left-field line - the ball appeared to be foul - to put runners on second and third with one out, Nationals manager Manny Acta replaced Bergman with Saul Rivera.

Rivera allowed back-to-back singles to pinch-hitters Greg Dobbs (who scored both runners to make it 4-3) and Jayson Werth. That put runners on first and second with one out.

Dobbs' single snapped the Phillies' 0-for-19 slump with runners in scoring position. They were hitting a measly .195 with runners in scoring position for the season to that point.

Eaton had a big hit in the second, and he pitched well enough to win. In six innings, he allowed just four hits, four runs and one walk. He struck out four.

One pitch proved incredibly costly.

After he hit Dmitri Young with a pitch to lead off the second, Eaton allowed a hit to Austin Kearns to put runners on first and second with no outs. Eaton then threw a 3-2 pitch to Brian Schneider, who smacked it over the right-field wall for a three-run homer, giving the Nationals a 3-1 lead.

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki
at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.