Game in a nutshell: After an 8-2 road trip, the Nationals returned home to a fired-up crowd and a healthy Ian Desmond, who made his first appearance in nearly a month. There was some early tension in the air when the Mets pounced on Ross Detwiler for two runs in the top of the first and Johan Santana set down the first nine batters he faced. But then the suddenly deep Nationals lineup went on a rampage. The first four batters to step to the plate in the fourth all recorded hits, capped by Morse's grand slam. One inning later, Bryce Harper launched a two-run bomb to pad the lead. Those two extra runs proved important, because Detwiler gave one back in the sixth and Craig Stammen gave one more back in the seventh. No worries, because Drew Storen bounced back from a rough outing in San Francisco to toss a scoreless eighth, and Tyler Clippard finished off the ninth to start this homestand off in impressive fashion and catapult the Nationals to 29 games over the .500 mark.
Hitting highlight: Though Harper's home run might have been a more significant development in the big picture -- perhaps that was the blast the rookie needed to get his season back on track -- how can we not highlight Morse's grand slam? Like so many of his previous blasts, this one was hit to the opposite field, over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center. Unlike all the previous ones, this one came with the bases loaded, the first grand slam for the Nationals this season. And it sparked another rarity at Nationals Park: a curtain call. Morse lumbered up the dugout steps and offered a double fist pump to the adoring masses, quite a moment for the slugger and the crowd of 34,827.
Pitching highlight: Detwiler's evening did not get off to a strong start. He allowed three consecutive, two-out hits in the top of the first, then walked Ronny Cedeno on four pitches to bring pitching coach Steve McCatty out of the dugout for a chat. Whatever McCatty said must've hit home, because Detwiler was extremely effective and efficient after that. He wound up retiring 13 of the last 16 batters he faced on only 62 pitches, though he did give up another run in the top of the sixth. At 84 total pitches, Detwiler could have returned for the seventh, but Davey Johnson decided not to take any chances and pulled his No. 5 starter after that. All in all, it was solid outing for the left-hander, who now sports a 3.25 ERA for the season.
Key stat: Since throwing a 134-pitch no-hitter on June 1, Santana is now 4-7 with a 6.98 ERA over his last 11 starts.
Up next: The series continues with a Saturday night tilt on South Capitol Street. Edwin Jackson faces left-hander Jon Niese at 7:05 p.m.