In his first start since June 6, Nationals' right-hander Craig Stammen threw 7.1 outstanding innings en route to ending Washington's five-game losing streak. The Nationals (34-44) beat the division-leading Braves 7-2 on the strength of Stammen's right arm and the right-handed bats of Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham. Stammen allowed just two runs on five hits and was effectively relieved by Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard after surrendering consecutive doubles to Martin Prado and Melky Cabrera. Last night, Stammen's second win of the season, was his longest start since April 9, a game in which he lasted eight innings and recorded his only other victory. Stammen, who was sent down when Stephen Strasburg was promoted, proved to be more than an adequate replacement for a Washington rotation which has been ravaged equally by injury and ineptitude.
Stammen was not alone in guiding the Nationals to victory. Washington scored as many as seven runs for the first time since a June 13 win over the Cleveland Indians. Paramount to the Nationals' success last night were the bats of Willingham and Zimmerman. Each drove in two runs, and Willingham also scored two in a game in which he blasted his 14th home run of the season. Also of note, utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez went 4-4 in the eighth spot in the lineup, raising his average from .246 to .292 in just a single game.
The Nationals will look to win the game and the series this evening by sending J.D. Martin to the mound against Jair Jurrjens.