Willingham homer powers Nationals over Mets

BY foxsports • July 23, 2009

Josh Willingham broke out of a post-All-Star break funk, then said his offensive performance had little to do with the Washington Nationals' sudden change of fortune.

Craig Stammen pitched into the eighth inning and Willingham backed him with a tiebreaking two-run homer as the Nationals beat the New York Mets 3-1 on Wednesday night for their second straight victory.

"That's how you start winning streaks and how you play winning baseball," said Willingham, who was 0 for 14 since the break before getting a season-high four hits. "It starts with pitching."

It's the Nationals' first winning streak under interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over when Manny Acta was fired July 13. Washington lost its first five games under Riggleman before beating the Mets 4-0 on Tuesday night behind John Lannan.

"Two wins in a row - you can't beat that," Stammen said. "Last time John threw a complete game, I went out and gave up five runs in the first inning. It was in my head - you know what, I'm going to get a good outing here. ... It's not really relief because I knew I could do it. It's satisfying because I came out and did my job."

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