Nats end 5-game skid as Desmond, Harper bring offense to life

Shortstop hits 2-run walk-off homerun

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Desmond made sure Harper was part of a winning effort. Prior to the ninth, Washington’s shortstop noticed Putz’s split-finger fastball was up in the strike zone during his warm-up pitches. With that in mind, he knew he could look to drive a fastball up in the zone and react to any splitter.

He came to bat after Harper’s double and strikeouts by Ramos and pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel. When Putz threw a belt-high fastball with the count 1-1, Desmond blasted it into the visitors’ bullpen.

“I barreled it up pretty good, but I never hit high home runs, so I was a little bit worried,” Desmond said. “Fortunately, I got enough of it.”

And the Nationals, finally with some pop in their lineup, clung to first place for another night.

“Somebody standing up and getting a big hit, turning the ballgame around, snatching it, that takes the collar off of everybody, the choke-collar,” Johnson said. “So it was huge.”

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