With NL wild-card leading Houston and East-leading Atlanta both losing Tuesday night, the Nationals and Phillies each gained a needed half-game when their game was rained out.
The was rescheduled for a day-night doubleheader Thursday. The first game will start at 1:05 p.m. ET, and the second is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
"It's tough to play baseball in conditions like that," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said as the steady rain still fell outside.
Still, Robinson had to like another game where the Nationals didn't lose a game in the standings. They've won four consecutive games on the road coming into to this one, helping to reverse a second-half slide that nearly knocked them out of contention.
Washington's offense has snapped out of a funk on the road, starting with a three-game sweep in Colorado. In the last four games, the Nationals have scored 27 runs on 40 hits, 18 for extra bases.
"We're scoring runs now and the pitchers are able to make a mistake or give up a run or two and not have the game on the line," Robinson said Monday.
Like the Nats, the Phillies are back in the postseason hunt, and a couple of losses from the teams they're chasing certainly helped.
The Cubs beat the Astros 4-1 on Tuesday night and the Dodgers beat the Braves 6-4. That put Washington (63-55) 4½ games behind the Braves and a half-game behind Houston. The Phillies (63-56) are five games back of Atlanta and one game behind the Astros.
The Phillies are trying to return to the postseason for the first time since 1993.
"I think getting there is the big thing," manager Charlie Manuel said before Monday's game. "If I had my way, I'd like to see us win the division."
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, but started before it was stopped with one out in the bottom of the first inning. The Phillies led 1-0 on Chase Utley's RBI single off Ryan Drese.
"I don't think we should have started it," Phillies starter Cory Lidle said. "Being that we did start when it was misting, I don't think we should have stopped when it was misting."
Starters Lidle (9-10, 4.61 ERA) and Ryan Drese (3-6, 4.69) will start the second game on Thursday. Tony Armas Jr. (7-5, 4.33 ERA) goes against Philadelphia's Vicente Padilla (5-11, 4.65) in the first game.
"It won't affect me at all," Lidle said. "I'll be ready."
The rainout wiped out a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins, who was stuck in a 2-for-35 slump. He singled to start the game and moved to third on Kenny Lofton's slap single to left. Then Utley singed up the middle for the game's only run.
Now, none of it counts.
"I didn't have a hit," Rollins said as he left the locker room. "I had a hit."
Washington will send Esteban Loaiza (7-8, 3.54) to the mound against Philadelphia's Jon Lieber (11-10, 4.92) on Wednesday night.
The Phillies won the opener of the four-game series 6-3 on Monday night. Each manager hoped a series win would give them the edge as the pennant race heats up.
"I think September is going to be real interesting in our division," Manuel said.
Phillies 1B Jim Thome had season-ending surgery on his right elbow to repair a frayed tendon. Thome's arm will be placed in a splint for two weeks followed by a range-of-motion limiting device for an additional two weeks. ... LHP Randy Wolf, out until next season after reconstructive elbow surgery, said his goal was to start at least 10 games next year.