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  • Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) hits a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in game four of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Jayson Werth's walk-off HR keeps Nationals' season alive

    The ball took flight like a missile, zipping into the crisp fall air that settled over the nation's capital on this October Thursday night. It sailed into the visitors' bullpen in left field. It clanked with a thud off the back wall. It carried with it the hopes of a team, of a fan base, of an entire city hoping the team's season would live at least one more day.

  • Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson stands in the dugout during a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, in Washington. The Nationals won 12-2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Nationals put Champagne on ice, beat Cardinals to drop magic number to 1

    In the quiet calm that hovered over Busch Stadium Saturday afternoon, manager Davey Johnson sat in the dugout and looked out at the field. A groundskeeper made minor tweaks to the infield dirt, stadium personnel bustled around. Nothing seemed different about this day.

  • ** FILE ** Washington Nationals' relief pitcher Tyler Clippard records his 30th save of the season against the Chicago Cubs during their baseball game at Nationals Park, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)

    Tyler Clippard, Nationals unravel in loss to Brewers

    It was just Friday afternoon that Davey Johnson endorsed a co-closer approach. Both Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard would get chances down the stretch as the Washington Nationals try to wrap up the National League East title.

  • Washington Nationals celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1at Nationals Park, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Washington, DC. The Washington Nationals clinched a spot in the playoff for the first time in team history. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)

    Nationals beat Dodgers to clinch D.C.'s first playoff berth since 1933

    The ball nestled safely into the glove of catcher Kurt Suzuki as the scene behind him exploded. The final out in a win D.C. had waited 79 years to celebrate coming on a swinging strikeout. With their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night — a crisp fall evening in Washington — a D.C. baseball team sealed its first postseason berth since 1933.

  • Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann delivers a pitch Aug. 20, 2012, in the first inning of the Nationals' game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

    Nationals can't hold off Cardinals in 10-9 loss

    The context of the Washington Nationals' season has made it so that there are very few situations in which their confidence wavers.

  • Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores celebrates with closer Tyler Clippard after the Washington Nationals closed out a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    DALY: Nats’ bullpen has been a relief from the start

    On better baseball teams, the collection of odds and ends that makes up a team's bullpen tends to be much greater than the sum of its parts. And we're seeing that now with the Washington Nationals, who all of a sudden are one of the big leagues' "better teams."

  • Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

    Reality hits the Nationals in 6-1 loss to Giants

    The sour realities that come with being the best team in the major leagues aren't all that plentiful. The Washington Nationals entered Tuesday night's game against the San Francisco Giants having lost just twice in their previous 13 games and the night before they'd set a record for hits inside the pitcher's haven that is AT&T Park.

  • Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and his fellow teamates are congratulated by the coaching staff following their 9-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks during a baseball game on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

    Nationals unscathed after their trial by fire

    The Washington Nationals have the best record in the majors. Say it often enough, and it begins to sound like: "We've put a man on the moon!" (or something similarly historic).

  • associated press

Using a new change-up grip, Nationals reliever Drew Storen secured his first save of the year Sunday in a 4-1 win over Miami.

    Nationals’ Drew Storen grasping his comfort zone

    Drew Storen was just sitting in the bullpen Saturday holding a baseball when something clicked. Gripping the ball the way he usually did to throw his change-up, a pitch he had been working on improving since the end of the 2011 season, Storen shifted his fingers in the slightest of ways. The comfort was immediate.

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