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Ross Detwiler earned his first win of 2011 with 5 1/3 solid innings.
"I love it," he said. "I kind of don't want it any other way. It makes my job a little harder, and I kind of enjoy the pressure."
Storen might as well be speaking for the entire Nationals roster, which has become so comfortable playing tight games that victories like Tuesday 3-2 triumph over the Cubs just feel like any other night at the ballpark.
Incredibly, the Nationals have gone 12-3 in one-run games since June 1. Their last nine victories have all come by either one run or in extra innings.
It's enough to make a 68-year-old manager's already thinning, gray hair find its way to the shower drain.
"I love one-run games, believe me," Davey Johnson said. "But every decision you make in a one-run ballgame is kind of critical. Once in a while, I'd like to have a laugher."
Sorry, it doesn't appear that's going to happen anytime soon. Not on a club that continues to get stellar pitching while scrapping for every run it can manage.
The Nationals had every reason to believe they'd bust out of their season-long offensive funk Tuesday when they scored three runs in the bottom of the first off Chicago's Ramon Ortiz. And then the 38-year-old right-hander proceeded to shut them out the rest of the night.
As Ortiz (an 11-game winner for the Nationals in 2006 who carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning that season) would say: "It's crazy, man."
This string of low-scoring, tense Nationals victories does defy logic in many ways. Can a club's success in one-run games be an accurate predictor of continued success?
"We're winning one-run games because our 'pen's keeping us in, and our starting pitcher is giving us an opportunity to take a lead," second baseman Danny Espinosa said. "But yeah, once our offense truly gets going, we're all going on the same cylinders, it's not going to be a one-run game anymore."
Perhaps, but astute observers of this franchise will remember the 2005 Nationals squad that was a remarkable 23-7 in one-run games on July 4 and found itself on pace for 100 wins. That team proceeded to lose 24 of 31 one-run games after that, finishing a pedestrian 81-81.
As then-manager Frank Robinson loved to point out: The law of averages always prevails.
So it's probably not feasible to presume the Nationals can keep this up. Not that they aren't going to keep trying the way they did Tuesday.
What did it take to win this game? Start with Ross Detwiler's solid outing in his first big-league appearance of the season. The left-hander carried a shutout into the sixth before allowing a double to Reed Johnson and two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez.
It wasn't all that dissimilar to Detwiler's starts from previous seasons. Except in years past, he could count on things falling apart at some critical juncture. Not now.
"It's a winning attitude here now," he said. "A couple years ago, I don't think people came here not to win. It just wasn't the atmosphere. There was a lot of losing going on. But you can definitely tell it's been a complete turn here."
Detwiler's departure in the sixth forced Johnson to 11 outs from four relievers. Todd Coffey wound up getting out of the sixth, striking out Marlon Byrd with the tying run in scoring position. Sean Burnett recorded two outs in the seventh, departing after a bunt single by pinch-hitter Tony Campana.
So Davey Johnson turned to the man who escapes jams better than anyone else on the roster (and perhaps better than any other reliever in the majors): Tyler Clippard, who after allowing Campana to steal second blew away Reed Johnson to end the inning and kill the rally.
The Nationals manager had seen Clippard do this plenty of times before, even before he took the job.
"I watched two or three games where Houdini couldn't have got out of the jams he was in," Johnson said. "First and third, no outs; he got out of jams a couple times when I was watching on TV."
Clippard, who earned his first All-Star berth in part because of his ability to strand 26 of 32 inherited runners this season, takes pride in nothing more than that.
"Obviously my runs are a big deal, but those other guys are even bigger deals to me," he said. "Helping the team and pitching in close games, leaving those guys on base, is huge. That's kind of what you strive for as bullpen guys, to come in and shut the door and leave those guys on base."
Clippard tossed a scoreless eighth, then turned things over to Storen. The 23-year-old closer allowed a one-out single to Marlon Byrd, then watched as fill-in first baseman Alex Cora couldn't snag a potential game-ending double-play relay from shortstop Ian Desmond.
When Darwin Barney tapped a slow bouncer toward second, Storen momentarily became deflated, thinking the Cubs infielder would beat it out and extend the inning. Then Espinosa came charging in, snagging the ball barehanded and firing an off-balance throw to first to end the game.
"That's an unbelievable play right there," Storen said. "Just to be able to bare-hand it and make a quality throw like that was pretty exciting."
"I tried to keep it as much controlled, but that was my only shot," Espinosa said. "If I would have gloved it, I wouldn't have been able to do it, it would have been too long. So, I guess in a sense, yeah, it was kind of a do-or-die play."
A do-or-die play for a team that seems to be in a do-or-die situation every night. For now, the Nationals are finding a way to do it. The law of averages says they're eventually going to die.
No one inside that clubhouse is willing to believe it, though.
"Those are tough games," Storen said. "But I think if we want to get to where we need to be, we need to play those games, especially against good teams in our division. Those are going to help us along the road."