Jordan Zimmermann made his first start in a year, and the Nats won in the 13th inning. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)
THE RESULT:  On the day the Washington Nationals introduced their latest phenom, and awaited the results of an MRI for the one already here, an almost forgotten prized pitching prospects returned after just 12 months from Tommy John surgery. 

But Jordan Zimmermann was long gone when this one was settled, Stephen Strasburg sat with his arm wrapped, and Bryce Harper could only watch from the comfort of the Lerner family box.

After a back-and-forth affair, with both closers blowing saves in the ninth inning, Ian Desmond finally put this one to bed as he singled off Blake Hawksworth in the bottom of the 13th inning against a drawn-in infield, and the Nats beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-10 before what was left of 22,317 at Nationals Park.

Nats win in extras, but await word on Strasburg's injury in the morning. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)
Somewhat dulling the euphoria of the big win, after the game a team spokesman said there will be a conference call Friday morning to announce the results of Strasburg's arthrogram, an MRI with dye injected to get a clearer picture of the injury.

Nyjer Morgan started the winning rally by getting hit by a pitch as he squared to bunt.  He went to third on an Alberto Gonzalez one-out single, and trotted home when Desmond's hard grounder bounced off infielder Aaron Miles's glove and got through for the game-winning hit, making a winner out of Doug Slaten (4-1, 2.86), the last man in Manager Jim Riggleman's bullpen.

Desmond has been hot hitting in the second spot in the order the last couple of weeks and he carried it over further down in the order, as he batted fifth for the first time this season and had a great night. He went 4-for-7 with a run and three RBIs.

Ian Desmond drives in the winning run in the 11-10 win over the Cardinals. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)
Both teams made furious comebacks in this one, as a total of six runs were scored between the teams in the ninth inning.  St. Louis got four runs off Nats closer Drew Storen in the top of the frame, and the Nats rallied with a two-run home run by Roger Bernadina in the bottom off Cards closer Ryan Franklin.

Bernadina went 2-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs, and made a terrific running catch at the wall late in the game to rob a Cardinal of extra bases.

Storen was called upon in the eighth when Tyler Clippard got into trouble, giving up a run, and retired two batters to get out of that frame.  But five of the six batters he faced in the ninth reached, including Matt Holliday, who Storen drilled in the wrist to force in the tying run.

After an intentional walk, Storen was lifted, but Sean Burnett allowed a two-run single to Randy Winn, completing the comeback rally.
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols finished 2-for-4 with his 400th career homer, a double and three intentional walks, and had a scary moment late in the game.  He chased a foul ball toward the stands and tried to use the infield tarp as a vault.  His right foot slipped though, and he fell awkwardly.  He stayed in the game, but was moving very gingerly on the ankle.

Albert Pujols injured his right ankle trying to make a catch late in the game.  (Photo by C.Nichols/Nats News Network)
Zimmermann did not produce the results he would have liked, as he ran into big trouble in the fourth, allowing six straight batters to reach -- including Pujols' milestone home run -- and four runs total.  His final line: 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ERs, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HBP, were not great. 

But Manager Jim Riggleman said before the game that he would be satisfied as long as Zimmermann threw free and easy, and made it out of the game heathly, which the 24-yead old did.  Zimmermann threw 70 pitches, 42 for strikes and hit 94 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball, coaxing fve ground outs against just two fly ball outs.

Zimmermann is just one year and two weeks removed from his ligament replacement surgery, so the organization is happy that he continues to make progress on his recovery, and whatever starts he gets for the Nats down the stretch are steps in that recovery.

Jordan Zimmermann delivers in the first inning.  (Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News)
The Nats took the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a Willie Harris two-run single.
THE GOOD:  Desmond.  He's been on fire hitting in the two-spot, and carried it over to the fifth spot in the order tonight.

An unsung hero in the game was Craig Stammen.  He entered the game in the fifth for Zimmermann and threw two perfect innings in the middle of the game, giving the Nats a chance to chip away and eventually take the lead.

THE BAD: Tyler Clippard.  One-third of an inning, two hits -- including a ripped Pujols double -- and one run.  Ain't getting it done right now.

And Storen.  He looked real good in the eighth, but just as bad in the ninth.  1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1K, 1 HBP.  Tough night.

THE UGLY:  Hmm... Felipe Lopez' throwing error in the 3rd opened the doors for the Nats to have  a three-run inning.  The more things change...

THE STATS:  9 Ks, 5 BBs, 4-for-10 with RISP, 11 LOB, 1 DP hit into.

NEXT GAME:  Friday night at 7:05 pm.  Scott Olsen (3-6, 5.21) takes on Jaime Garcia (11-6, 2.42).

NATS NOTES:  Before the game, the Nats introduced No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper to the media and fans.  Click here for the full report with quotes and photos.

The Nationals used all of their bench players and  relievers in the 13 inning affair.  After the game, Riggleman said Slaten would have hit in the 14th for himself and would have stayed in until he was out of gas.  John Lannan would have been the emergency pitcher in that case, and had already made his way down to the pen in case of emergency.

The Nats were the second team all season to get 10 hits off Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter.  Washington chased the Cy Young candidate after the sixth.  He gave up six runs, three earned, on 10 hits and a walk, striking out just one batter.

Chris Carpenter did not have his best game of the season. (Photo by C. Nichols/Nats News Network)