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But then Adam Jones punched a low fastball to right to drive in Nick Markakis. And Baltimore got two quick outs in the bottom half.

Still, the Nationals had one more surge. Young drew a two-out walk, and while Acta hurriedly juggled his lineup in case the tying run put any of his emergency scenarios into practice, he and pitching coach Randy St. Claire discussed the upcoming at-bat. Acta told St. Claire that Belliard would hit a home run.

And however improbably, Belliard delivered.

“I think that’s a team,” Belliard said. “I want to win some games where I just lay back and win it. But I think right now, if this is the way we have to win, hey, you’ve got to take it.”