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Nats witness ideal late-game bullpen scenario

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' bullpen performance over the final three innings of Friday's 5-2 win over the New York Mets worked out perfectly in more ways than one.

Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano worked the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, each shutting out Washington's NL East rival.

"That's the way we set out to do it," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "Last night was an example of how we want to do it if we have the lead."

For all kinds of usage and game-situation reasons, the order of appearances won't always be the same, though Soriano is locked into the closer's role. But if the Nats are looking at an ideal bullpen situation, this is it.

"It was set in Spring Training," Williams said before Saturday's middle game of a three-game set with the Mets. "We can mix and match a little depending on workload and who may be available or not available. The good thing about it is we have three guys with experience closing and they're interchangeable, with the exception of [Soriano], probably in 7 or 8."

Also ideal, Washington's collective 2.21 ERA out of the bullpen. For all of Major League Baseball, only the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants have proven stingier in relief.

Benjamin Standig is a contributor to
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