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The Angels managed only one hit through the first four innings against Bergmann. When they finally broke through in the fifth, it required a Casey Kotchman single, a Howie Kendrick double and a sacrifice fly by Jeff Mathis to plate a single run.

Otherwise, Bergmann was firmly in control, keeping his pitch count low and giving himself an opportunity at recording his second complete game this season.

But with the game still knotted 1-1 in the seventh and Harris standing on third after a leadoff triple, Acta felt he had to seize this opportunity.

“You have to pinch hit,” the manager said. “Our offense, the way it is, with seven outs to go in that situation you just can’t give outs away.”

The move paid off, though in quite unconventional fashion. Paul Lo Duca smoked a line drive back up the box, and Lackey snagged it, then turned to complete what should have been an easy double play at third. But his throw sailed wide, Harris came racing home and the Nationals had a 2-1 lead.

If only they could have brought the rain back at that moment and washed out the rest of the evening’s unsightly proceedings.

“It’s a nine-inning game,” Bergmann said. “We had two innings of work left to do. The game’s never over, and it’s never considered over until the end of the ninth.”