With the Nationals trailing 9-8 in the bottom of the 10th and a runner on first, Dukes drilled a 2-2 slider over the center-field fence for a two-run homer to give the Washington Nationals a 10-9 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second game of a day-night doubleheader Thursday.
Dukes, who had four hits and four RBI in the second game, finished a double shy of the cycle. His first home run of the season gave the Nationals a split of the doubleheader and snapped their four-game losing streak.
"I went up there, and I was tired. I was a little sluggish," Dukes said. "Right away, I got it, and it felt good."
"It was just a long day for both clubs," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "You've got to commend the effort of both teams to play the back game of a day-nighter and put that kind of effort into it. It was a great game to be a part of. They had the last hero."
Entering the nightcap, Dukes, who was acquired from Tampa Bay in December, had two RBI in 22 games. He doubled that number in the second game.
"He has had some good at-bats of late. I hope this game helps him out," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "He's had a rough time until now. He hangs in there. He's had some tough at-bats. Things hadn't been working out up until today."
Dukes, who missed nearly six weeks with a hamstring injury, started the season with only one hit in his first 28 at-bats. Things have gotten better, and recently Acta has moved Dukes from eighth in the batting order to second.
"When I got the chance (to bat second), I (said) 'I've got to make this work or I might be down in Triple-A,' " Dukes said.
Franklin, who saved the first game, nearly had two saves in one day.
"I've been around a long time, man, but that was pretty exciting. You just don't want to end up on the raw end of the deal," Franklin said.
The Nationals led 7-0 after three innings, and 8-3 after four. They scored their runs against Mike Parisi, whose second major league start was no better than his first.
In his initial start on May 31, he allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings to Pittsburgh. Against Washington, he allowed eight runs, five earned, and 10 hits in four innings.
Parisi was followed by Mark Worrell, who was making his second major league appearance. Worrell entered the game trailing 8-3, but helped close the gap when he hit a three-run homer off Tim Redding in his first major league at-bat.
Redding allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Jon Rauch had retired 19 consecutive batters and was in line to record his 13th save in 15 opportunities before he allowed a one-out double to Brendan Ryan in the ninth, a two-out RBI triple to Skip Schumaker that made it 8-7, and a game-tying infield single to Aaron Miles.
"Blowing another save isn't exactly what I had in mind," Rauch said. "I just came in and made mistakes and they almost cost us."
- The Cardinals played without OF Rick Ankiel, who has an infection in his right knee.
- Worrell was the eighth Cardinals player to homer in his first at-bat. The most recent was also a pitcher, Adam Wainwright, in 2006.
- Rauch had retired 19 consecutive batters until Ryan's double in the ninth.