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Hitting highlight: The Nationals had two previous cracks at Lannan this season and came away with very little (two runs in 13 innings). But in the first start of his career at Nationals Park in which he wasn't wearing a curly W cap, the left-hander was torched. The Nats got a pair of homers off Lannan in the bottom of the second: Anthony Rendon launched a two-run blast to center, then Ryan Zimmerman launched a solo shot to left-center. They added a run in the bottom of the third. And then they really took their frustrations out on Lannan in the fifth, scoring four times to blow the game wide open. After going a pathetic 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position during their three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves, the Nationals went 5-for-7 in those situations tonight against Lannan.
Pitching highlight: When Haren landed on the DL on June 22, the right-hander joked that he didn't even know what ailment landed him there. Perhaps the two-week break — it was officially for shoulder inflammation — actually did him good. Haren can't dispute the results. In 15 starts before he went on the DL, he went 4-9 with a 6.15 ERA and 1.44 WHIP while allowing 2.09 home runs per nine innings. In six starts since coming back, he's now 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 0.49 homers surrendered per nine innings. That decrease in home runs allowed has perhaps been the biggest factor in Haren's success. There did seem to be some element of bad luck plaguing him through the season's first half. Not to suggest he was pitching great at the time, but it did feel like every fly ball he surrendered left the yard. Not anymore. Haren is keeping the ball down in the zone and keeping it in the park. It's too little, too late, but at least it's making his season look a lot better.
Key stat: Adam LaRoche had been 0-for-16 in his career against Lannan until he notched back-to-back hits off the lefty in the third and fifth innings tonight.
Up next: Game 2 of this weekend series sees one of baseball's wiliest veterans take on a fresh-faced rookie. Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies, with young Taylor Jordan on the mound for the Nationals at 7:05 p.m.