They fell behind 4-1. They gave away a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning when closer Tom Gordon walked in the tying run. They squandered a 6-5 lead in the 10th. Even what became the go-ahead rally almost was cut short when a runner was thrown out at the plate. And a two-run lead in the 14th hardly seemed safe.
Still, in the end, the Phillies did scrape out an 8-7 victory over the Washington Nationals on Rollins' two-run triple with two outs in the 14th Wednesday night.
"I don't know what to say about it, but we won," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'll remember this game. ... This was a mental-stress game. I aged tonight."
The Phillies -- who ended a two-game skid -- stayed one game behind the Dodgers in the wild-card standings with four to play. Los Angeles beat Colorado 6-4 in a game that began 1½ hours later than Philadelphia-Washington but finished first.
Chase Utley recorded his 200th hit and 100th RBI of the season, and Clay Condrey (2-2) earned the win with two innings of perfect relief. Fabio Castro pitched the 14th for his first career save, but not before loading the bases with none out and allowing Washington to cut it to a one-run game.
But with two on and only one out, Castro -- making his first appearance in 20 days -- retired Brian Schneider on a hard-hit, 4-6-3 double play to end it.
Chris Coste doubled leading off the 14th against Jason Bergmann (0-2), who was working his fourth inning.
"I was just giving everything I've got for as long as I could," Bergmann said.
Michael Bourn followed with an infield single -- his first major league hit -- and the runners moved to second and third on Abraham Nunez's groundout. Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez grounded to shortstop Felipe Lopez, who juggled the ball before throwing home to barely get a sliding Coste.
But Rollins lined a sinker down the right-field line to put Philadelphia ahead 8-6.
"It was a big moment for us," said Rollins, who also singled and doubled and finished with four RBI. "I love being up in that situation. I've always had confidence in myself."
As he arrived at third base, his teammates lined the top step of the dugout, pointing at Rollins.
Before Rollins stepped to the plate, Manuel asked his shortstop whether he'd want to grab a drink after the game.
"He said, 'Not really. I want to go to sleep,'" Manuel said.
It was a topsy-turvy game that lasted 4 hours, 53 minutes, and in which the teams used a combined 47 players, including 17 pitchers. Gordon could have ended things in the ninth with his 34th save. But he instead blew a save for the fifth time this season, intentionally walking Alfonso Soriano to load the bases, then walking Ryan Zimmerman to tie the score.
Zimmerman earlier tied Brad Wilkerson's franchise rookie record by hitting his 20th homer in the second inning. Zimmerman reached base in each of his first six plate appearances, with a bunt hit, three walks and an error.
Ryan Howard was walked intentionally in each of his last three plate appearances. The player batting behind him, outfielder Jeff Conine, went 0-for-7, leaving nine runners on base.
The Phillies went back up 6-5 in the top of the 10th on Nunez's RBI double against Washington closer Chad Cordero.
And Philadelphia wasted that lead, too. Geoff Geary allowed a bunt single to Nook Logan, who advanced on a groundout, then scored on Schneider's single, tying the game at 6-all. After a strikeout, Lopez hit a bouncer to shortstop Rollins, who bobbled the ball and then underhanded it wide of the bag at second for his second error of the game.
That put runners on first and second for Soriano, who earlier this month became the first major leaguer in history with 40 homers, 40 steals and 40 doubles in one season. But Geary struck him out; Soriano went 0-for-6 and has zero hits in his last 14 at-bats.
Utley's three hits included his 32nd homer and a double. His run-scoring double in the first gave him 100 RBI for the second consecutive season; his single to center in the sixth gave him 200 hits for the first time.
- The Nationals left 14 runners on base, the Phillies 15. They went a combined 7-for-37 (.189) with runners in scoring position.
- Washington's Pedro Astacio left his final start of 2006 after five innings with tightness in his right forearm.