left his major league debut to a standing ovation - and his team was trailing.
made sure the rookie's gutsy effort wasn't a footnote in another disappointing defeat.
had RBI singles in the eighth inning, helping the Nationals end a seven-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the
on Thursday night.
''Whenever somebody comes out there and gives you an effort like that, you obviously want to do everything you can to reward
them,'' Zimmerman said. ''It was nice to come back and get (Stammen) off the hook because he did throw so well.''
Washington's bullpen - which had been 1-15 with 13 blown saves in 19 chances - came through for a change.
(1-3) got the victory with 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief and
got three outs for his fourth save in seven opportunities.
Stammen retired the first 12 batters he faced in his first big league game, but couldn't hold a 3-0 lead. The 25-year-old
right-hander, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the day, didn't allow a baserunner until
led off the fifth with a double over the first-base bag.
''I thought I controlled my emotions and my thought process pretty well,'' said Stammen, who allowed four runs on four hits
in 6 1-3 innings, walked one and struck out three. ''I just didn't make pitches when I needed to. The third time through the
lineup, I needed to make some better pitches.''
But Washington's comeback bailed Stammen out and prevented a season-high eighth straight loss.
Trailing 4-3 in the eighth,
started the decisive rally with a one-out single off
(1-1) and moved to second on
's single to center. Zimmerman followed with a tying single to right, the 39th straight game he has reached base safely. Dunn
put Washington ahead with the fourth straight single of the inning.
LaRoche homered for the Pirates, who had won five straight.
''We just battle. We were down early and then they fought back,'' Pirates starter
said. ''Unfortunately, that's a good lineup. You can't contain them for much longer, and they scored some runs.''
had two RBIs for Washington.
The Nationals staked Stammen to a 2-0 lead in the second as the rookie set down 19 of the first 20 hitters he faced.
''(Stammen) didn't look intimidated the whole night,'' Washington manager Manny Acta said. ''He attacked the strike zone,
worked fast, had very good sink on his fastball and just made it look easy. As he found out later, it's not that easy, but
he did a very nice job for us.''
drew a leadoff walk and moved to third when
doubled to right. Bard's grounder scored Willingham and
followed with a sacrifice fly for the 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Bard's two-out single up the middle made it 3-0, scoring Willingham, who had doubled down the left-field line.
Pittsburgh cut the lead to 3-1 in the fifth. LaRoche doubled to lead off the inning, moved to third on
' grounder and scored on a bouncer to short by
's seventh homer tied the game in the seventh.
walked and LaRoche ripped a 2-2 fastball into the second deck in right field.
followed with a run-scoring single to center, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead and chasing Stammen.
''(Stammen) was impressive. I think he has a chance to be around for a while. He's good,''
Snell allowed three runs on four hits, walked one and struck out six.
has 10 hits and nine RBIs in his last 22 at-bats. ... Hernandez left the game with a sprained pinky finger on his right hand
after grounding out to end the fourth. He was replaced at second base by
. X-rays were negative and Hernandez is day to day. ... Pittsburgh was bidding for its first six-game winning streak since
May 6-12, 2008. Pittsburgh's was denied its first four-game sweep since May 29-June 1, 2006, over Milwaukee at PNC Park.