The Nationals called up left-hander Sammy Solis out of unexpected and unwanted necessity on April 29. Injuries had pummeled their pitching staff, so much so that by the time Solis made his major league debut a few days later, he was the fifth pitcher to do so for the Nationals this season. Solis had been pitching at extended spring training, then at Class AA Harrisburg as a recently converted reliever. “Recently” is a bit of an understatement, actually: Solis’s professional regular season relief experience consisted of three games, four innings, of AA work.

But as a left-hander who throws mid-90s with a solid secondary arsenal, that Solis’s stuff could play in the majors was not the concern. Whether or not Solis could make the massive leap from Class AA to the big leagues in a new, often pressure-filled role? That certainly seemed a more reasonable question.

Solis has answered it, forcefully but politely. He has not allowed a run in his first six big league innings and Sunday, pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn his first major league win.

“This guy, impress me a lot,” Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos said. “He’s one of the guys being here doing his job really good. To me, that guy will help the team a lot. He look like he got a lot of experience in the big leagues. He’s doing a really good job, so I’m very happy for him.”

If Solis had waited one more day, he would have had dozens of family and friends in the stands to see the win, though general consensus is to take things like first major league wins whenever you can get them. The Nationals flew to Arizona after Sunday’s game to play the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks drafted Solis — who did not sign with them and went to the University of San Diego instead — out of Agua Fria High in Avondale, Ariz., about 19 miles from Chase Field. Solis estimates he’ll have 30 family members and dozens of friends at this week’s games. When Solis was called up in late April, his family took an overnight flight from Phoenix to Atlanta as soon as they heard he would be in uniform there.

But despite all the pleasant chaos that comes with an unexpected major league arrival, Solis has stayed steady. He looks at ease in the clubhouse, at ease on the mound, smiling with teammates at his locker, stoic but forceful on the rubber. Solis has pitched like a veteran, too. He did so again Saturday, fulfilling what eventually became set-up duties in the eighth.

“He’s fearless,” Nationals closer Drew Storen said. “He really doesn’t care, which is a good thing. He goes in there and sticks to his game plan. He’s fitting in well. There’s no deer in the headlights look from him every time the phone rings. He’s ready to go out there and battle.”

Solis came up as a starter, but injuries derailed him again and again, so the Nationals decided to move him to the bullpen before this season in the hopes that his body, stuff, and mentality would fit well there. So far, they have. The Nationals probably did not envision Solis’s first major league win coming after an inning of relief when they drafted him in the second round in 2010. They probably did not envision they would have a starting rotation like this one, either. Steady arms in the bullpen are crucial for the Nationals these days. So far, Solis has been just that.


The Nationals swept the Braves with a 5-4 win Sunday, sparked by the steady hitting of catcher Wilson Ramos.



Durham 5, Syracuse 1: A.J. Cole took the loss for the Chiefs, allowing three runs on three hits in six innings. Manny Burriss was 2 for 4 and catcher Steve LeRud was 2 for 3 in the loss.

Altoona 7, Harrisburg 4: Starter Austin Voth gave up two earned runs in four innings and Bryan Harper pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Senators, who got two hits from Wilmer Difo — both doubles — three from Kevin Keyes, and two from Tony Renda.

Potomac 4, Frederick 3:  Though Casey Janssen allowed three runs in his one inning of rehab work, the Nationals scored a run in each of the final three innings to earn the win. Drew Ward and Ike Ballou had two hits each, and Brandon Miller homered for the P-Nats.

Hagerstown 2, Greenville 0: Three suns pitchers — Drew Van Order, Connor Bach and David Napoli — combined to shutout Greenville, allowing three hits total. Jeff Gardner and Grant DeBruin droves in runs for the Suns.