Back from the minors, Lannan gives Nats huge pick-me-up

Left-hander pitches 7 strong innings in 5-2 win

“I honestly couldn’t stop smiling when I saw him on the mound,” said shortstop Ian Desmond, who was pulled in the eighth inning of the nightcap when his sore left oblique acted up. “I knew he was hungry for it.”

Desmond is iffy for Sunday’s game, though Harper is expected to be a go. Harper returned in the second game to notch a key pinch hit, steal a base and score an insurance run. But even his sore oblique couldn’t dampen Desmond’s enthusiasm for Lannan’s performance.

As Lannan walked off the mound following the seventh inning, his offense having picked him up for the two early runs and set to tack on the third that would make a winner out of him, Johnson met him at the dugout steps and shook his hand. He put his arms on the left-hander’s shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Love ya, man,” Johnson told him with a smile.

“He’s done such great things for our team up here,” Clippard said. “It just is a testament to how good our staff is. He deserves to be here, but he’s doing some things in Triple A, working out some things he needs to work out. And when he gets here, he’s going to contribute in a big way for us down the stretch. I think he understands that. We all understand that. It was good to have him here, get his feet wet here and hopefully we see him soon.”

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