Jayson Werth arrived at this point of his career — loathed by one city, adored by teammates, rich beyond his dreams — in part because of the twisted intensity within him. On Tuesday night, Werth had been asked how he avoids dwelling on losses neither he nor his team expected would pile up so quickly. Within a thoughtful answer, he concluded, with a slight grin, “You’ve got to show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody’s face.”

Ballplayers, Werth argued, forget the gloom in their recent past or they cease to be ballplayers. On Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals were half-buried after eight innings and down to their last out in the ninth. Then they showed up ready.

Werth’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth forced extra innings, and in the 11th Ian Desmond smashed a grand slam to lift the Nationals to a 6-2 victory. Just when they appeared headed for a new nadir, the Nationals’ offense enlivened enough to avoid a series sweep, snap a three-game losing streak and keep the team from falling into third place.

“The Phillies, we needed to show them that we’re still hanging around,” Manager Davey Johnson said.

Before Desmond smoked the grand slam, he had struck out three times, including once with a runner on third base in the ninth inning. “God, just give me another chance,” Desmond thought. In the 11th, he came up with the bases loaded. He fell behind, 0-2, and he took a pitch on 1-2 that, on another day with a different umpire behind the plate, may have been strike three. On Wednesday night, he caught a break and then delivered the biggest hit of the Nationals’ season. The dugout erupted.

“That’s like I remember it from last year,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said.

On Tuesday, Werth and Desmond had discussed the Nationals’ need to develop an identity for this season. Werth believed the Nationals needed a comeback win or late-inning magic, some kind of jolt. It arrived a night later.