Jimmy Rollins could not silence the boobirds last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Jayson Werth had no such problem.

He hit a game-winning solo home run to left-center field in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals that kept the Phillies 11/2 games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.

"It seems to me I hear we're out of it right now, like we're not even close," Werth said of the division race among the Mets, the Phillies, and the Florida Marlins.

"But the reality is we're a game and a half back with six weeks to play," he said. "I feel we're the best team in this division. We just need to go out there and play like it."

The pitching has been there for much of the season. The hitting has not.

Werth believes the Phils will start playing like the division's best.

"I know the personalities," he said. "I know the players in the clubhouse. I've been with these guys for two years now. . . . We've got good players in here. We've got guys that can play."

Werth has been playing more and more lately. He is hitting .264, with a career high of 17 homers and 45 RBIs.

His .355 on-base percentage ranks third on the team, behind Pat Burrell's .392 and Chase Utley's .365. His .486 slugging percentage also ranks third, behind Burrell's .556 and Utley's .554.

The plan had been for Werth and Geoff Jenkins to platoon in right field, with Werth playing against lefthanded pitchers and Jenkins against righthanders.

Jenkins has started 70 games in right field compared with 42 for Werth, but Werth has started 14 of 29 in right since the all-star break. He also has hit second five times in the last six games.

"I think somewhere along the line, Jenkins is going to get hot," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I definitely will play him some more.

"But I like Werth's talent and the fact that he can hit in the two-hole, because he hits balls to the right side of the diamond and he can steal bags."

Werth entered the night with a .355 on-base percentage against righthanders - 22 points better than Jenkins'.

"Before I got injured, I hit second in L.A.," Werth said of his time with the Dodgers. "I like it. If that's where Charlie wants to put me in the lineup, that's where I'll hit.

"If he wants to hit me sixth or seventh . . . but how can you not like hitting second in this lineup? You've got Chase, Howie [Ryan Howard], and Pat hitting behind you. That's not a bad place to hit, really."

Rollins hit leadoff and received a mix of cheers and boos from Phillies fans, still irked that he called them front-runners last week.

The shortstop went 0 for 4.

"If they want to boo me, that's fine. Boo me," Rollins said. "Just keep it off everyone else. . . . You had some cheers, you had some boos. Like I said, when you get the win, they'll cheer you."