Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannan's last start ended when a line drive caromed off his right cheek and into center field. Suffice to say, he's happier and healthier following last night's 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Lannan went 5 2/3 innings, allowing just two earned run on five hits, evening his personal record at 6-6 and the Nats season record at 47-47.
After the pounding the Nationals took Friday night, anything would have been better. But the Nats put three up on the board in the second, courtesy of a Wilson Ramos double and Lannan's first hit of the season (0-for-39 dating back to last season), which drove in two. That's really all the Nats needed, but they didn't know it at the time.
Things tightened up in the bottom of frame as Alex Gonzalez' two-run homer drew the Braves within one. That's as close as the second place Braves got.
Ramos gave his battery-mate some insurance in the top of the sixth, drilling his ninth home run of the season, a two run shot that provided the final margin for the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lannan ran into trouble, allowing two singles with one out. After he got Braves slugger Jason Heyward to fly to right for the second out, manager Davey Johnson figured to get his starter some help. Ryan Mattheus came in and got a ground ball from Gonzalez to end the inning.
The Nats then followed a familiar script, getting another perfect inning out of Mattheus before turning things over to Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, who both struck out one in their innings of work. Clippard earned his league-leading 24th hold and Storen his 24th save in 27 opportunities.
When projecting for the future, Lannan sometimes gets overlooked. But he's quietly putting together a quality season. As some of the prospects make their way to the majors, there will be stumbling blocks along the way. The Nats must have some sense of comfort knowing they have a pitcher in Lannan that they can pretty much get what they expect out of him on most nights. There's something to be said for that.
Lannan's not flashy and won't post gaudy numbers, but he's getting his job done.
THE GOOD: Wilson Ramos. 2-for-3, two runs scored, homer, three RBIs. He's going to have ups and downs with his batting average, but a 15-homer catcher who throws base stealers out is a rare commodity.
THE BAD: Roger Bernadina. 0-for-5, two Ks, five LOB.
THE UGLY: Ryan Zimmerman. 0-for-5, two Ks. Please start hitting Ryan. Please?
THE STATS: Nine hits, five walks, 13 strikeouts. 2-for-10 with RISP, 10 LOB, zero GIDP. No errors (Yay!)
NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:35 against the Braves.