The Washington Nationals, showing a resiliency that has permeated their 2010 campaign thus far, scored single runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings to take a comeback win over the Florida Marlins, 5-4, before 21,633 sun-drenched and wind-blown fans--including some of the four-legged variety on "Pups in the Park" day at Nationals Park.

Josh Willingham homered in the seventh off Florida reliever Burke Badenhop to tie the game, and Adam Dunn was hit by Reynel Pinto with the bases loaded in the eighth, forcing in Ian Desmond--who himself was hit by Badenhop--for the eventual game-winner.

"We had quality at bats. And sometimes you gotta get a little lucky, you know?" Nats manager Jim Riggleman told reporters after the game.  "We don't go up there with the design to get hit by a pitch, but we've been on the other end of that a few times ourselves, so we'll certainly take the break. But we had some great at bats."

"A lot of good things happened for us in the game."

The runs made a winner of Tyler Clippard for the fifth time this season, and Matt Capps recorded his 12th save in as many chances, closing out the ninth--albeit with a little excitement thrown in.

Clippard actually gave up the go-ahead runs to the Marlins in the top of the seventh, as he surrendered a two-run home run to Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, his second of the year.  Clippard was brought in to face Sanchez after Sean Burnett walked center fielder Cameron Maybin on four pitches.

But Clippard bore down, striking out Hanley Ramirez to end the inning, and he completed a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth, gathering two more strikeouts.

Capps came on in the ninth and got Cody Ross to line out to Cristian Guzman at second base for the first out.  Chris Coghlan pinch-hit for Brett Carroll and grounded to third, but Adam Dunn could not handle Ryan Zimmerman's low throw, so Coghlan was safe on the play.

The next batter, Bryan Petersen, grounded sharply to Dunn, and the hulking first baseman threw to second for the out, but the return throw from Ian Desmond was wide of the bag, so Petersen was safe.  But Capps, as he has all season, finished things up striking pinch hitter Wes Helms out quickly to secure the win.

The other big story of the day, after the win itself, was the performance of the Nationals' starting pitcher.

Matt Chico went 7-9 and led the Nationals staff in innings pitched--in 2007.  Saturday afternoon at Nats Park, he made his first Major League appearance since May 21, 2008, taking John Lannan's turn in the rotation as the left-hander nurses his sore pitching elbow.

Chico earned the spot start by pitching well at Double-A Harrisburg.  He was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts for the Senators.  He held the Marlins today to two runs on six hits and no walks, striking out three.

He had an inauspicious start, hitting lead-off man Maybin on the first pitch of the game, but settled down and really battled to keep his team in it.

"He did a great job today," Riggleman said.  "To hit the first hitter and get himself composed and pitch as good as he did for the next five innings was pretty impressive."

Chico did a good job of keeping his pitches low in the strike zone, and induced eight ground ball outs in his five innings, to go with the three strikeouts.  He only found real trouble in the sixth inning, when two seeing-eye singles got through the infield, followed by the only especially hard-hit ball against him all day, Jorge Cantu's RBI double to left field.

Chico was lifted at that point in favor of veteran reliever Miguel Batista, who let in the second run on a groundout.  But Batista managed to stem the bleeding and got the last two out of the inning to limit Florida to just the two runs.

After the game, Chico was returned to Double-A Harrisburg, and the Nats are expected to call up a reliever for Sunday's game. 

But it must be nice for the Nats, and Chico himself, to know that he apparently has come all the way back from "Tommy John" surgery and can be competitive at the Major League level.

The Nats record improves to 16-14 and they will look to take the series victory over the Marlins Sunday at 1:35 pm.  Livan Hernandez (4-1, 0.99) hopes to continue to drink from the fountain of youth against Anibal Sanchez (1-2, 4.06) for Florida.

NATS NOTES:  Willie Harris hit a two-run home run in the Nats three-run fourth inning.  Josh Willingham had tripled on the previous at bat, driving in Adam Kennedy with the Nats first run of the day.

The Nats struck out six times, walked once and left four on base.