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Washington Nationals defeat New York Mets, 3-2
Batista's surprise save came after Bruney atoned for recent struggles. Bruney entered with one out in the eighth inning, the two runners on base representing the runs that could tie the score. First, he struck out Jeff Francoeur. With Rod Barajas at the plate, Bruney fired a ball that hit the backstop about 10 feet up, moving the runners up to second and third.
With the count 3-2 to Barajas, Bruney fired a chest-high, 93-mph fastball. Barajas popped up to short. The inning sealed, Bruney walked calmly off the field, stopping only to receive a high-five from Rodríguez.
From start to finish, Nationals pitchers invented ways to get in and out of trouble. In the first inning, Luis Atilano escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam with two strikeouts. In the fourth, he escaped with a zero after putting a runner on third with one out.
Atilano exited the game with one out in the sixth, having allowed no runs on his 25th birthday while striking out five, inefficient but effective. In jogged Doug Slaten, just called up Sunday, to throw his first major league pitch this season with men on first and second base and one out.
Ike Davis squibbed a soft line drive to the left side of the infield. Zimmerman bolted to the middle of the diamond, nearly to the pitcher's mound, and caught the ball on a sprint. He peeked at first and noticed Wright inching off the bag. In one motion, he rifled the ball to first. Wright dove back to the base, but not in time.
Walker did his part in the seventh, relieving Slaten. He froze José Reyes with a wicked 3-2 slider, stranding the go-ahead run at first base. The Nationals' patchwork bullpen would continue to stifle the Mets, finding a new way to win a game.
In past seasons, Zimmerman said, the Nationals always seemed to do whatever it took to lose games. That, like so much else, has changed.
"What happened in the last couple years in Washington is already over," Rodríguez said. "This is 2010. We have a good team. We focus on now."