Nats end first half with win

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“I’m so happy about it,” he said. “It feels great to help out, to help the team win.”

Flores contributed behind the plate yesterday, too. Bacsik credited the rookie catcher for calling a good game and studying up on the club’s gameplan to attack Pittsburgh’s hitters. The plan worked to near perfection until the seventh, when Bacsik surrendered a single and a double and then threw wildly on a comebacker for an error.

Acta pulled his starter there, handing the ball to reliever Luis Ayala. Though Ayala allowed two inherited runners to score, both came on sacrifice flies, and he closed the inning by getting a groundout to preserve Washington’s one-run lead.

Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero then finished things off, each tossing a scoreless inning, with Cordero getting a game-ending double play to earn his 14th save and end the first half of an encouraging Nationals season on a high note.

“We can still be doing better,” Cordero said. “We could have won five or six more games, at least. But overall, it’s been all right. We’re not the worst team in the league. We’re going out there and competing every day.”

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