- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2013

Five pitches.

For everything that went on at Nationals Park on Saturday, the five pitches Drew Storen threw might have gone unnoticed.

All-Star teams were named and two Nationals were selected. Bryce Harper will start in the outfield and Jordan Zimmermann will be on the National League’s pitching staff.

Rafael Soriano, not an All-Star, picked up his 24th save of the season in an eventful ninth that saw the Nationals make two strong plays to preserve a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Zimmermann was denied his 13th victory when reliever Ross Ohlendorf gave up a three-run home run on his third pitch after replacing the starter.

So much happening, so easy to overlook Storen’s masterful inning. His boss did not.

“He said ‘here’ and that was the highlight film of my day,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Storen is an unquestioned talent who can be a bit enigmatic. He’d been pitching well lately but his last two outings before Saturday were not going to be described as “well” by anybody. Four runs in one inning in the first on Tuesday, three in one inning in the next only two days later.

Earlier in the week, Johnson had some pointed remarks for Storen in his pregame media session.

Basically, Johnson said he wanted Storen to stop thinking so much and trust his best stuff.

“And that’s what I was talking about. His stuff is too good. He doesn’t need to try to trick ‘em,” Johnson said Saturday. “It’s not just coming from me, it’s coming from (pitching coach Steve) McCatty.

“When he goes like that, he makes it look easy.”

After Ohlendorf gave up the go-ahead home run to Jesus Guzman after relieving Zimmermann in the sixth, the Nats came back to take the lead in their half of the seventh. Harper drove in his third run of the day with a sacrifice fly. Ryan Zimmerman drove in another with a single.

When Storen came on to pitch the eighth, there were a smattering a boos scattered around the park. They turned to cheers, and quickly.

Pitch one – a pop up by Carlos Quentin to Zimmerman. Pitch two – a liner by Chase Headley caught by Zimmerman. Pitches three, four and five – strikes to Guzman, the last one catching him looking.

Story Continues →