Sep 15, 2010, 9:08 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Drew Storen is congratulated by Wilson Ramos after earning the save.
ATLANTA — They’ve been the one constant in an otherwise tumultuous year for the Nationals. Their starting rotation has been great at times, disastrous at others. Their lineup has produced in bunches for a week, then gone ice cold for two weeks. Their defense has been mostly atrocious, though it’s gotten better over the course of six months.
But all along, the Nats have boasted a deep and reliable bullpen, a unit that has earned the trust and confidence of everyone else in uniform.
“It’s awesome,” John Lannan said. “If you go six or seven [innings], if you have the lead, you’ve got a good shot of winning the ballgame. These guys have been outstanding all year. I’m just really impressed with the way they’ve done such a great job.”
The bullpen was back in top form again this afternoon at Turner Field. Justin Maxwell’s early grand slam and Lannan’s six solid innings may have set the tone, but three scoreless innings of relief from Joel Peralta, Sean Burnett and Drew Storen sealed the deal and gave the Nats a 4-2 victory over the Braves.
Just like that, a Nationals club that was chewed out by its manager Sunday for lack of effort and then the following night struck out 15 times in losing its sixth straight game bounced back to beat the Braves twice and deal the NL East contenders a serious blow to their title hopes.
“That’s all we’ve got right now over the last month,” Burnett said, “trying to spoil other people’s seasons.”
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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