Hearing from a happy clubhouse

Ryan Zimmerman was asked to describe the vibe in the Nationals' clubhouse following this afternoon's thrilling, up-and-down 9-7 walk-off win that snapped a six-game losing streak.

"Just normal. You know," Zimmerman deadpanned, before cracking a big smile. "I mean we needed a win. It didn't really matter how we got it. Obviously that's probably the most exciting way you can get a win. This team, we stick together.

"It's been a rough go this year. Nobody's more disappointed than all of us in here but we realize not sticking together and starting to blame each other isn't going to do anything other than make it worse. Keep going, keep grinding every day and try and win a ballgame."

The Nationals badly needed a win - any win - and they got one in dramatic fashion today. It was a lot more dramatic than they would have liked it to be, of course, but they'll surely take it.

Bench coach (and today's acting manager after the fifth inning) Randy Knorr described the mood in the clubhouse after the game as a World Series-winning type of scene. Ian Desmond didn't disagree.

"I'm trying to take these games almost in the sense that they're playoff games," Desmond said. "We've got to win. We've got to play better, and then we've got to win. We have to finish these games off. It was nice to get a walk-off."

Ian Krol's first career major league win didn't come the way he'd like - he allowed two inherited runners to score to tie the game with two outs in the ninth - but he did get to revel in a joyous atmosphere afterwards.

"It's great. As you can tell, the atmosphere in the clubhouse is just 10 times better than what it was the last six games," Krol said. "Everybody's amped up. Kind of emotional going into the bottom of the ninth, but Harp pulled one out for us. And, you know, that's what he does. That's why we've got him on the team. He's unbelievable."

It had been 11 days since the Nats last celebrated a win. They'd fallen to nine games behind the Braves in the division and five games below .500. They needed this one bad. And with the Braves losing today, they gained a full game in the standings.

"You see everyone competing, showing them we want to play, continue to play our best," Gio Gonzalez said. "We just had some tough breaks. Music finally playing, people smiling. It lets you know it's a good day.

"You ended on a win. We showed life."

I'm not writing the whole will-this-build-momentum angle again, but that what the Nats are hoping - that this win can propel them forward.

"Obviously we did some good things, did some bad things but in the end, we got a win," Zimmerman said. "That's kind of what we needed. Hopefully that'll carry some momentum into this weekend where we have a doubleheader and some things where we have a chance to win a few games."

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