Josh Willingham homered in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, giving the Nationals the weekend Beltway series, 2 games to 1. It was home run number 8 for Willingham, a shot off of Oriole reliever Cla Meredith, who took over for an injured Alfredo Simon, who left the game in the 10th after pulling a hamstring on his way to cover first base.
John Lannan provided the Nationals a solid, quality start, going 5.1 innings and allowing only 1 run. Lannan only gave up 2 hits, but allowed 3 walks. After initially struggling, Lannan has done fairly well since returning from elbow soreness. In his last two starts, Lannan has pitched 11.2 innings, allowed 3 runs on 7 hits. He has lowered his once whopping ERA to a still lofty 5.55. Rookie Drew Storen pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Storen also singled in the 6th inning, his first major league hit.
The Nationals saw something for the first time this season. Matt Capps blew his first save of the season, coming in to pitch the 9th with a 3-1 lead. Capps gave up a double to Aaron Jones that put Oriole runners on 2nd and 3rd bases. Matt Wieters grounded in a run and Julio Lugo singled in a run to break Capps 16 game save streak.Doug Slaten (2-0) picks up the win, coming in after Capps departed, pitching 2 scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to 1.42
Offensively, Willingham went 2-4 and scored twice, including the game winning homer in the bottom of the 10th. Nyjer Morgan and Will Nieves each had 2 hits. Nieves subbed in for Ivan Rodriguez, who is taking time off because of back soreness. Roger Bernadina provided the big hit in the bottom fo the first inning, hitting his second major league triple, both in consecutive games, driving in all 3 Nationals runs, until the Willingham game winner. Bernadina is hitting .279.
The Nationals improve to 23-22 and move to within 3.5 games of Philadelphia, who lost 8-3 again today tot he Boston Red Sox.