The Washington Times - October 11, 2012, 10:54PM

Following eight straight outs by strikeout, the Washington Nationals’ bullpen was rolling. Then Drew Storen needed a little bit of help to finish off the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning Thursday night.

Shortstop Ian Desmond was there to lend a glove.

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Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter had a chance to give the Cardinals a lead, hitting the ball into no-man’s land in shallow left field. Pete Kozma would have scored had it dropped in, but Desmond raced over and made a full-extension leap to record the out.

Shortly after, Jayson Werth’s homer to lead off the bottom half of the inning gave the Nationals an emotional, 2-1 victory to force a Game 5 in the National League Division Series on Friday night. But it wouldn’t have been possible if not for Desmond’s catch.

For him to go out there and take charge on that play, that’s overlooked,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s a great routine play, I guess would be the way to put it.”

It was routine to Desmond because he practices making catches like that every day. He credited batting practice coach Julian Martinez for giving him looks with a fungo bat to practice.

And as I was running back I was thinking [left fielder Michael Morse] was playing no doubles, a little deep,” Desmond said. “And I said ‘This is all yours. You got to go get it.’ Fortunately I was able to make the play.”

It was a play that got lost a little among Ross Detwiler’s masterful start, Werth’s homer and the bullpen’s dominance. A day earlier when asked about Desmond’s nice game at the plate, Werth was quick to point out that defensively he’s stabilizing the Nationals, too.

For Desmond, it wasn’t anything spectacular. All he wanted to do was catch the ball.

It’s just about getting back there and trusting that you’re going to have space,” he said. “And just taking charge and making sure you get it.”