Mattheus relishes first major league win as Nats come back again

Nationals right-hander Ryan Mattheus earned his first major league victory by holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to no runs in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 4-3 game two victory.

Mattheus got the first two outs in the inning, allowed two singles and then induced a pop out to third by Pirates clean up hitter Garrett Jones.

“It is awesome,” Mattheus said. “Of course, my first win is going to be exciting. But with (Ivan) Rodriguez doing what he did with two outs is really exciting. I almost came into the clubhouse but (Pitching coach Steve) McCatty stopped me and said, ‘hey, this is your first win, you might want to stay out here for it.’ “

Mattheus deserves big props for his double duty Saturday. He struck out the two batters he faced in the ninth inning of game one. Following that up, he held the Pirates without a run in game two to earn his first-ever big league win.

And in both situations he came into the games with his team down. The Pirates led 5-2 in the ninth in Game 1 when he arrived after Todd Coffey had some trouble. In Game 2, Mattheus held the Bucs to no runs and gave his team a chance in the bottom of the eighth, down 3-2, in a game the Nationals would eventually win, 4-3.

“No matter what the score is we are trying to go out there and put up zeroes,” Mattheus said. “If I go out there and give up a couple runs, then that one run doesn’t matter. We are trying to keep it close.”

Mattheus said even though he has only been here since June 10, he sees a team that believes they are never out of any ball game.

“We have proven it in the short time I have been here (with) the come from behind wins,” Mattheus said. “There is no quit in this team. That just makes it exciting for us in the bullpen. If we keep it close, we know that coming down to the last at-bat, we are going to fight and we are going to be in the ball game.”

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