Lannan strong through six; Nationals lead Cardinals 4-2

John Lannan came into tonight having allowed two runs in his last 26 1/3 innings. He’s been nearly as strong tonight.

The left-hander has thrown only 67 pitches in six innings, throwing 44 for strikes and getting double plays to end the last two innings. He’s got 12 groundouts against only one flyout, and aside from Matt Holliday’s homer, he’s made few mistakes, getting the Cardinals to beat his sinker into the ground.

He’s thrown 29 sinkers so far, mixing in three other pitches - a four-seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup. That Lannan is throwing his sinker that much is a key part of his development; he’s shied away from the pitch in the past at times when it hasn’t been sharp, but he continues to develop more faith in it.

The Nationals have a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth after Laynce Nix hit his 10th homer of the year. They’ve now homered seven times in their last two games, and should be able to get Lannan at least into the seventh.