A night after falling below .500 for the first time in over a month, the Nationals got back to what had made them successful in the first place, having a lights-out bullpen.
Despite Craig Stammen allowing six runs (four earned) over 5.1 innings pitched, the Washington bullpen took over in the sixth inning and allowed only one hit while striking out five and walking none en-route to a 7-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles. With the win the Nationals improved to 22-22 and found again the winning formula that has turned this into their most successful season; timely hitting with a shutdown bullpen.
The Nationals fell behind early after a two-run first from the Birds capitalized by Wiggington’s two out single (.150 WPA). The Nats answered back in the third after Ryan Zimmerman reached on a one out single (.030 WPA) and Josh Willingham hit a two-out homer (.207 WPA) to make it 2-2.
The very next inning the Orioles took the lead as Adam Jones hit a two-run an inside the park home run (.205 WPA) off of a bad play by Nyjer Morgan to make it 4-2. Things got worse for the Nats in the sixth as Ty Wiggington (.188 WPA) hit his 13th homer of the season, a two-run shot, to make it 6-3.
The Nats takeover came in the second half of the inning. Adam Kennedy started the inning with a single to center, only to be tripled in by Bernadina (.179 WPA) the very next plate appearance. Alberto Gonzalez followed with a single (.068 WPA), driving Bernadina in and helping the Nationals score two runs before making one out. After a sacrifice bunt from Nyjer Morgan (-.031 WPA), Cristian Guzman was hit by a pitch (.033 WPA) and Ryan Zimmerman (.097 WPA) provided an infield single.
With the bases loaded Adam Dunn, who had been 0-4 on the day, hit a single to center (.201 WPA) scoring two runs and giving the club a 7-6 lead which would hold the rest of the game.