Game in a nutshell: Mired in a three-game losing streak and in danger of seeing their lead over the Braves shrink to 12-game, the Nationals faced something of a must-win situation tonight. And they delivered with a gutsy performance, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to push across solo runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. John Lannan, called up from Syracuse for the day, battled back from an ugly first inning to shut Atlanta out over his next six and put himself in line to earn the win. His teammates did the rest, with Roger Bernadina producing the big RBI hit: a two-out single to right in the bottom of the seventh to score Sandy Leon and break a 2-2 tie. Bryce Harper, battling a sore ankle, then came off the bench in the eighth to ignite another rally and score a key insurance run. Tyler Clippard then bounced back from his shaky week to record the save and give the Nats a much-needed victory at the end of a long day of baseball.
Hitting highlight: When Harper went down with a left ankle injury early in Game 1, the onus fell on Roger Bernadina to pick up the slack. And did he ever. Bernadina wound up going 5-for-7 in the doubleheader, producing the biggest hit of the entire day: His two-out, RBI single to right that scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh. Bernadina has always been a streaky hitter, and he's on a legitimate hot streak right now. Whether he can sustain it, who knows? But the Nationals might as well enjoy it while they can.
Pitching highlight: The way his evening began, Lannan looked to be in a heap of trouble. He gave up two runs in the top of the first and let five of the first six batters he faced reach safely. But then the lefty settled into a groove, and he kept getting better and better with each passing inning. By night's end, Lannan had retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, only three of those outs coming on flyballs to the outfield. In what was probably the biggest start of his career, Lannan came up big. And the Nats couldn't be happier about it.
Key stat: After a shaky start to his night, Lannan threw 47 of his last 63 pitches for strikes.
Up next: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, with Ross Detwiler facing off against Jair Jurrjens.