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Desmond puts struggles aside with walk-off

Game-winning sac fly a boon to shortstop
MLB.com @WashingNats

WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond drove in the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Braves in 11 innings on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond drove in the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Braves in 11 innings on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

Full Game Coverage

The score was tied at 1 with the bases loaded, when Desmond came to the plate to face right-hander David Aardsma. It didn't take long for Desmond to make his point.

On the first pitch, Desmond drove in his 19th run of the season by hitting a sacrifice fly to left fielder Eury Perez, scoring Bryce Harper, who started the rally with a double.

Prior to the at-bat, Desmond was 10-for-72 (.139) with a home run and three RBIs during the month of June, a month in which manager Matt Williams sat him down twice.

Video: ATL@WSH: Desmond gets doused with ice water after win

"It felt good to win," Desmond said. "I contributed. Whether I get hits or whatever, I feel like I bring something to the team every day. The box score might not say that, but I know what I bring to the team. It felt good to drive a run in there. We still have a lot of time to play [this season]. Whether I get hits or not, there are other ways to contribute."

Although he is off to a slow start with the bat, Desmond continues to be one of the hardest workers on the team.

"He is one of the strongest dudes I've seen in a long time," teammate Dan Uggla said. "The back of his baseball card says it all. We've all gone through it. He is our leader and that says a lot about him as a man, as a teammate and as a baseball player. It's cool to see how he has handled himself."

Nats keep Knorr in thoughts

While he was pleased to contribute to the victory, Desmond's mind was on bench coach Randy Knorr, who is away from the team because his wife, Kimberly, passed away recently. Desmond was emotional when he talked about Knorr to the local media. The relationship dates back 2005 when both were with Class A Savannah.

Video: ATL@WSH: Nationals, MASN keep Knorr in their thoughts

"Words can't describe [how I feel about Knorr]," Desmond said. "He has been there for me since I was 18. We have been through a lot together. That was awesome, but I would do anything to be able to go and give him a hug."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond