Batista keeps Nats in game despite little rest

In a game where the Nats got down early to the Orioles and lost their starter Scott Olsen by the third inning due to injury, 39-year old righthander Miguel Batista kept them in the ball game and gave them a chance to come back.

Just like he did Thursday against the Mets, and countless other times in his career.

Down 4-0 to Baltimore after three innings and without a hit, Batista extended the game to 8th inning, allowing no runs and only two hits, two walks, and striking out two in four innings of work.

Batista also pitched two innings Thursday against the Mets, scattering two hits and allowing no runs.

Pitching coach Steve McCatty was impressed with Batista's fitness, especially 24 hours after throwing against New York.

"That was a great job. He can throw every day. We asked him last night if he could pitch again today and he said 'absolutely'. The guy is in tremendous shape. He said if he got the chance for one more at bat he would go one more inning too."

Batista agrees. "That is always what I have been capable of doing. Pitching short, pitching long, rest or no rest, that is my job to do here."

"When you see a guy like Olsen who is actually very aggressive with his fastball and he is throwing the ball and not putting that attitude behind it you knew something was wrong. We were all getting ready and (Tyler) Walker talked to me and said 'we should be ready' because something is going to happen."

Considering the situation he faced, Miguel showed a steely veteran's resolve in stopping the Birds from adding on to their early advantage. He also contributed the Nats first base hit of the game off of winning pitcher David Hernandez.

Batista made light of his base hit: "I only have one technique when it comes to hitting: swing hard in case you hit it. My hits are like comets, they happen every 4 or 5 years."

It is the 23rd professional season for Batista and the Nationals are his 9th club after spending the last three seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He is once again showing to be a great find by General Manager Mike Rizzo, who signed Batista to a minor league contract a mere three and a half months ago.

After a few uneven outings, Batista appears to be settling in with his last two appearances of shutout ball against the Mets and the Orioles. His E.R.A. dropped from 5.55 to 4.76.

Catcher Pudge Rodriguez says Batista has been showing some signs of improvement lately.

"He pitched strong for us. It is good to see that from him. He has been working hard on his mechanics. Today he just came in and threw some good innings, very strong."

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