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Craig Stammen retired all 12 batters he faced to earn the win.
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."