WASHINGTON -- Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Andres Blanco had three hits and three RBIs, including a go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth off former teammate and current Washington nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, a pending free agent who has been with the organization since 2004, was given a fitting sendoff and ovation from the home crowd when he was removed from the game just before the top of the ninth began after he had three hits, including a homer.
But those personal moments were overshadowed Sunday as Washington teammates Papelbon and outfielder Bryce Harper, the MVP candidate having a generational season, scuffled in the Nationals dugout in the last of the eighth inning in a 12-5 win by the Phillies.
Harper flied out to left field to begin the last of the eighth and Papelbon, who had come on to pitch in the top of the eighth, hollered at Harper even before he got into the dugout.
Television replays showed Papelbon going after Harper in the dugout. With the score tied 4-4 to start the ninth, Papelbon returned to the mound and gave a nice ovation as Desmond was removed in favor of rookie shortstop Trea Turner while Harper did not take the field in the top of the ninth.
Minutes later, Blanco hit a homer off Papelbon to give the Phillies a 6-4 lead and the visitors scored six more runs in the inning to take a 12-4 lead.
"He apologized. Whatever. It is like brothers fighting," said Harper.
Harper did not address the question of whether he was injured in the scuffle with Papelbon. He said he was slated to be given the day off Monday when the Nationals end their home schedule with a makeup game against the Reds.
"I am just worried about the last six games. I have a lot to play for," Harper said. "I am really excited for the next six games. (Nationals manager Matt Williams) was going to pull me in the ninth inning anyway (in) my last home game."
Papelbon was acquired in a trade with the Phillies in late July and became the closer, taking over for popular and effective closer Drew Storen.
Papelbon was booed by some Nationals fans when he took the mound in the eighth and after he was pulled by embattled Williams in the ninth in favor of rookie Sammy Solis, who gave up the last four runs.
"I am in the wrong there," Papelbon said after the game about going after Harper, who appeared not to run hard on his fly-out in the eighth. "There is a lot of competition; it is a long season. It is a grind."
Does Papelbon think he will be suspended by the Nationals?
"I think we will handle that in-house," he said. "I talked to Bryce and told him how I feel. We are on the same page now. I view him as a brother of mine. Sometimes in this game there is ... a lot of intensity that spills over. I can't allow that to happen in the middle of the game. In light of that, I am wrong."
Williams, in his second year as the manager, would not address whether the team plans to suspend Papelbon. The veteran closer was suspended three games by Major League Baseball last week for hitting Manny Machado of the Orioles with a pitch, but Papelbon is appealing the suspension and was available to pitch this weekend.
"This is a family issue and we will deal with it. It's no fun when stuff like this happens," Williams said. "We will fix it. We will deal with it."
With the win, the Phillies (59-97) ended the year 26-55 on the road while Washington (79-76) lost at home for the ninth time in 13 games a day after being eliminated from the playoff picture.
Washington backup catcher Jose Lobaton hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh and seldom-used infielder Dan Uggla followed with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. Desmond and left fielder Matt den Dekker (four hits), also getting a rare start, began the seventh with hits.
The winning pitcher was Dalier Hinojosa (2-0) while Papelbon (4-3) was tagged with the loss.
Philadelphia tied the game at 2 in the sixth with bases loaded walks by center fielder Aaron Altherr and left fielder Darin Ruff off starter Gio Gonzalez.
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second on back-to-back homers by Desmond and den Dekker against Phillies starter Aaron Harang.
Gonzalez, the Washington starter, allowed no runs and just three hits in the first five innings before the Phillies got on the board in the sixth.
The lefty did not retire the first five batters in the sixth and left having allowed two runs on six hits. Harang allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Both starting pitchers threw 89 pitches, with 55 strikes.
But the Papelbon-Harper fight was the big news.
"I'm used to fighting the other team," Harper said.
NOTES: With the Nationals eliminated from postseason play on Saturday, OF Matt den Dekker got the start in left field over Jayson Werth. A former Mets OF, den Dekker entered Sunday with an average of .215 in 79 at-bats in his first year with Washington. ... The Nationals will play a makeup game Monday against the Reds at home in the regular-season finale at Nationals Park. RHP Max Scherzer (12-12, 2.98) will face Cincinnati LHP Brandon Finnegan (4-1, 3.65). ... The Phillies are off Monday and will face the division champion New York Mets on Tuesday, with LHP Jonathan Niese (9-10, 4.16) going for the visiting Mets against RHP David Buchanan (2-9, 7.96). ... Washington OF Bryce Harper entered Sunday leading the National League in hitting (.339), on-base average (.470) and homers (41).