Lannan starts slow, then settles down (Werth update, game update)

You can’t really blame John Lannan if he was a little emotionally charged up in the first inning of tonight’s ballgame.

This is his first major league start of the season after the Nationals optioned him to Triple-A the day before opening day in a surprise move.

He’s been stuck riding buses and pitching to sparse crowds since, and hasn’t been on the mound in a regular season game at Nats Park since Sept. 16, 2011.

So when Lannan allowed two runs in the first inning, giving up three hits and two walks, it was somewhat understandable.

Luckily for the 27-year-old lefty, he’s been able to settle down since that first frame, and has tossed four consecutive scoreless innings since then.

Going into the sixth, he’s retired 12 of the last 15 he’s faced. He still trails 2-1, however, because the Nats’ bats have been able to manage little against Braves starter Randall Delgado.

The lone Washington run came across in the fifth on a Delgado wild pitch, which plated Danny Espinosa from third. That run broke a 15-inning scoreless streak for the Nationals, who hadn’t scored since Espinosa’s solo homer in the ninth inning Friday night.

Lannan is on the hill to start the sixth. Let’s see if he can finish his outing strong.

Jayson Werth’s first rehab game with Single-A Potomac is complete, as he was pulled after six innings. Reports on his performance are fairly positive: he went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in his second at-bat and a walk in his fourth time to the plate.

This is Werth’s first time seeing game action since breaking his left wrist back on May 6. The Nationals will slowly ease him back into action and hope to have him back with the big league club around the first week of August.

Update: Lannan is done after seven fantastic innings, and the Nats have him in line for the win in his 2012 debut.

The lefty leaves having allowed two runs, five hits and two walks over his seven frames. He also hit two batters, but was on the attack after the first inning, retiring 13 of his last 14 and throwing 47 of his final 63 pitches for strikes.

The Nats have a 3-2 lead after scoring one run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Ian Desmond’s RBI ground out tied the game in the sixth, and Roger Bernadina’s single to right brought in Sandy Leon for the go-ahead run.

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