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Perhaps more significant, more than one player noted the familiar feeling that accompanied Friday night's 6-4, come-from-behind victory over the Mets, one that included several late clutch hits and then a shutdown performance from the bullpen.
"That's stuff we did last year," reliever Drew Storen said. "That's what's fun about it. That's exciting. Especially on the road here, it's a big win for us."
Indeed, this was the kind of victory that was commonplace in 2012 but has for some reason eluded the Nationals in 2013, perhaps owing to their maddeningly inept offensive numbers when a game is on the line. Entering Friday, this team was hitting a collective .203 against opposing relievers, .192 in "late-and-close" situations and a scant .151 with a .199 on-base percentage in the ninth inning.
So imagine how the visiting dugout at Citi Field felt after the Nationals went 5-for-10 with four doubles and a walk in the eighth and ninth innings against five members of Terry Collins' New York bullpen, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 victory that catapulted this club back over the .500 mark.