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Ohlendorf bails out bullpen, earns start Friday

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Ross Ohlendorf saved the bullpen during a 9-2 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.

After starter Jordan Zimmermann was hit hard for seven runs in two innings, Ohlendorf entered the game, pitched six solid innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six batters. He retired 11 out of the last 12 batters he faced. At one point during the game, Ohlendorf's fastball was clocked as high as 97 mph.

The outing has earned Ohlendorf a chance to start in Friday's doubleheader against the Mets.

"It was a tough game for us. It's my job as a long guy to save the bullpen. I was glad I was able to do it again," Ohlendorf said. "I just know that's my role. Certainly, you don't expect Jordan to have a rough outing. He has been so dominant.

"[Catcher Kurt Suzuki] did a good job. When I walked [Carl] Crawford [in the fifth inning], he came out and told me to make sure I pound the zone. It helped me pitch deep into the game for us. So he helped me stay focused."

Now where did that 97-mph fastball come from? According to Ohlendorf, the last time he threw a 97-mph fastball was four years ago, when he was with the Pirates. The last couple of years, he had some shoulder injuries and he says health is the reason he has been able to throw hard.

"I feel a lot better is one thing. Otherwise, I'm not really sure," Ohlendorf said. "I changed a couple of things. I don't know what exactly caused it."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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