The Washington Times - May 4, 2009, 09:29PM

For most of the night, the Nationals could not buy a clutch hit. They had chances in each of the game’s first four innings and kept finding ways to botch them up.

That had to change eventually, right? Yes.

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The Nats scored twice in the fifth, getting three hits and a walk with two outs, including RBI singles by Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns. And they just scored five more in the sixth, again with some clutch hits from the heart of the lineup and some help from a wretched Houston bullpen.

Ryan Zimmerman got it started by drawing a bases-loaded walk on a borderline 3-2 pitch, the fourth time he’s reached base tonight. Adam Dunn then lined a two-run single to right and Dukes followed with a run-scoring single (further making up for his early game struggles). Another bases loaded walk drawn by Anderson Hernandez — ending a brutal inning by reliever Felipe Paulino — extended the lead. By the time the inning finally ended, Washington sent 11 men to the plate: Only three had hits. Four drew walks. One was hit by a pitch.

All this allowed John Lannan to go from being in line for the loss to in line for the win.

Lannan wasn’t in top form — four runs (three earned) and nine hits in six innings — but he’s finally benefitting from some run support.

It’s up to to the — gulp — Nats bullpen now to close this out.