The words "could have been" say much about this 35-38 Phillies season.
This could have been a three-game sweep had the Phillies not stopped hitting after the first inning.
Washington's Ryan Zimmerman hit a one-out double off Stutes in the 11th to get things started. Adam LaRoche was walked intentionally, and former Phillie Jayson Werth also walked to load the bases.
Desmond provided the heroics with his 10th homer of the year.
For the second time in three games, the Nationals had tied the score with two outs in the ninth inning against Jonathan Papelbon.
With Washington trailing by 2-1, Denard Span opened the ninth with an infield single. After Anthony Rendon flew out to right, Zimmerman struck out.
LaRoche walked, bringing up Werth, who delivered an RBI single to left to tie the score. Papelbon then struck out Desmond to end the inning.
"It ran back in the middle; it wasn't a great pitch," Papelbon said of Werth's hit. "It's a pulled ball that finds a six-hole."
In the Phillies' ninth, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard drew two-out walks before Domonic Brown popped out to short.
Phillies righthander Kyle Kendrick bounced back from a difficult start, while Michael Young continued to rebound from a rough month of May.
Kendrick allowed just one run in 72/3 innings and Young supplied a first-inning two-run homer off former Phillies farmhand Gio Gonzalez.
Young, who batted .172 in May, drove in Ben Revere, who led off with a single to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
Young's homer to left in the first was the last hit against Gonzalez.
A two-time all-star, Gonzalez allowed just two hits in seven innings, striking out 11 and walking two. He struck out Howard and Brown three times each.
The Nationals made it 2-1 with a seventh-inning run. Zimmerman was issued a one-out walk and advanced to second on LaRoche's slow groundout to Kendrick.
Werth, who homered Tuesday against Cliff Lee, drilled an RBI single to right. Kendrick got out of the inning by striking out Desmond.
Kendrick allowed seven earned runs in 41/3 innings in his last start, an 8-7 Phillies win Friday in Colorado. Like Gonzalez, he allowed just two hits.
Kendrick was removed with two outs in the eighth when Chad Tracy was announced as a pinch-hitter for Gonzalez.
Manuel was booed for removing Kendrick, who had thrown 92 pitches. Lefthander Antonio Bastardo ended the inning by getting pinch-hitter Chris Marrero to fly out.
"It's his decision. I respect the manager's decision," Kendrick said. "I'm just mad about the loss."
He had plenty of company in the clubhouse.
Contact Marc Narducci at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.