by Anthony Amobi, Staff Writer

(Photo by Anthony Amobi/Nats News Network)

It was an eventful night on Friday at Nationals Park in more ways than one for anyone who made it to the banks of the Anacostia.

First, infielder -- and the longest tenured National on the team -- Cristian Guzman was traded to the Texas Rangers for prospects earlier in the afternoon; second, Miss Iowa, Katherine Connors, kissed and made up with pitcher Miguel Batista over his comments on Tuesday night, plus threw out the first pitch; and third, oh yes - the Phillies, and their misbehaving fans, were in town for a three-game set with their brand new ace, Roy Oswalt.

On a picture perfect evening for baseball, Nats fans saw Craig Stammen and the offense break through to quiet the legions of Philly faithful and beat their division rival, the Phillies, 8-1.

Much of the attention heading into Friday nights game was centered on pitcher Oswalt who recently became a member of the Phillies via trade from Houston.  He struggled in his Eastern Division debut, however.

Oswalt, slight in stature -- but extremely talented -- went six innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. He just looked off, could not hit his spots and the Washington offense teed off on him.

The Philadelphia fans from near and far who descended on Nationals Park gave Oswalt a salute befitting a war hero as he walked from the bullpen to his respective dugout. However, they would be disappointed with the result of the evening.

On the other hand, Stammen had a wonderful performance for Washington. He earned the easy victory on the night, going 6 1/3 innings and only gave up one run -- a long Jayson Werth homer (his 15th) in the seventh inning.

Stammen allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one. He had everything working in his start and kept a powerful and experienced Philadelphia lineup at bay with a mix of pitches, command and confidence.

(Photo by Anthony Amobi/Nats News Network)

He's had his share of ups and downs on the mound throughout his tenure as a National. However, Jim Riggleman noted in the post-game press conference that despite his struggles in 2010, last night's start could be a building block for something better.

"He's had a couple days where he actually threw pretty good and we didn't really play that good or it happened to be a time where the bullpen didn't hold the lead. I think his numbers are skewed a little bit. It's a good time for him to come together. Hopefully he continues this."

(Photo by Anthony Amobi/Nats News Network)

Stammen got a lot of help from his offense, highlighted by Adam Kennedy, who had four hits, drove in a run and scored twice. As well, both Roger Bernandina and Josh Willingham drove in two runs, plus Nyjer Morgan scored twice.

The offense for the Nationals started off early, as Nyjer Morgan acted as the table setter, ripping a lead-off triple to right field off Oswalt. Moments later, he crossed home plate as Adam Kennedy drove him in with a groundout.

(Photo by Anthony Amobi/Nats News Network)

Washington plated two more runs in the third and got a helping hand from Philadelphia thanks to two huge errors in the third inning. Stammen led off the frame with a single, and then Morgan got plunked in the back with a pitch. The next batter, Kennedy attempted a bunt, and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz threw the ball to third for the force out.  Only problem was, there was no one covering the base and the throw sailed into left field.  Stammen came into score easily.

Morgan, who advanced to third on the error, scored on a Ryan Zimmerman sacrifice fly and Washington took a 3-0 lead.

The Nationals pretty much put the game away in the fifth inning. Josh Willingham ripped a two-run double to increase the lead to 5-0 and give Stammen enough of a cushion to sail to the easy win.
For good measure, Washington scored three more times in the seventh inning to take an 8-1 lead, as Roger Bernadina smashed a two-run double and Ian Desmond plated a run with a sacrifice fly.

With Saturday evening's trade deadline rapidly approaching, it may be an eventful day or not for the Nationals, as the immediate fate of Adam Dunn may be decided.  There has been much speculation as to where the Buynan-like slugger may go, with rumors of the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants and even the New York Yankees continue to swirl.

Obviously, Nats Town will be watching very closely to see what happens.

(Photo by Anthony Amobi/Nats News Network)