Jun 1, 2013, 5:19 AM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Craig Stammen retired all 12 batters he faced to earn the win.
ATLANTA — Already missing their best young player, their veteran leader, their top catcher and one member of their rotation, the Nationals took the field Friday night at Turner Field understanding how much was, and is, at stake this weekend against a Braves club that entered play with a 5 1/2-game lead on them in the NL East.
And then Stephen Strasburg departed after only two innings with a strained right oblique muscle, and suddenly a Nationals club that had been furiously trying to tread water for two months now looked on the verge of sinking below sea level.
The best ballclubs, though, have to overcome adversity somewhere along the way, and what better place for the Nationals to start than right here and right now, their season on the brink of major calamity?
So it was that Craig Stammen produced an emergency relief appearance for the ages — 12 batters faced, 12 batters retired — and a struggling lineup manufactured three early runs and a maligned bullpen hung on for dear life over the final three innings to pull out a 3-2 victory that felt like something far more significant than a run-of-the-mill win on the final day of May.
“It was an outstanding effort, and a big win,” manager Davey Johnson said. “We needed it bad.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Nats cruise to 9th straight win over Braves
- Zimmermann sharp as Nationals beat Braves again, 6-1
- Rested Nats open series in Atlanta
- Is it time to start worrying about Anthony Rendon's injuries?
- State of the Nats: All-Stars announced soon, Giants coming to town
- Baseball in the District - Which Nats should be All-Stars?
- Desmond showing signs of a breakout at last
- The Baseball Show: An amazing week of pitching
- On long, up-and-down day, Strasburg stands tall
- Roark struggles as Nats lose second game of doubleheader