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The inning mercifully ended with a Francoeur comebacker that smacked MacDougal’s glove cleanly off his hand. As the announced crowd of 38,063 erupted, MacDougal retrieved the ball and lobbed a throw to Dunn at first for the final out.

And the Nationals, as they’ve repeatedly found ways to do, scored some relief against the Mets.

“We needed a win, for sure, to get back and have a decent road trip,” Willingham said. “It was a big win for us.”