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Off-day a winner for Hanrahan in '09

Off-day a winner for Hanrahan in '09

PITTSBURGH -- Try explaining this to someone: Killing time on an off-day, more than 1,500 miles away from where the Nationals and Astros took the field, reliever Joel Hanrahan picked up a win for a club that he didn't belong to.

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9 for 09
12/23: April's tri-cycle
12/24: Ellsbury steals home
12/25: Fowler steals five
12/26: Werth runs wild
12/27: Rallying Tribe
12/28: Stetter's mark
12/29: Hanrahan's odd win
12/30: Mets bear Brunt
12/31: Nolasco's 16K gem

Yes, you might need to read that a second time.

Certainly, there was no easier way to record a win than the way Pittsburgh's Hanrahan did so on July 9. And it would be hard to find an odder way either.

So how could this happen? Well, that July 9 game had started 65 days earlier (in Washington, D.C.) but had to be halted due to rain in the bottom of the 11th. The score was tied at 10, and Hanrahan had just pitched the top half of the inning for the Nationals.

Of course, the suspended game needed to be finished eventually, so it was rescheduled to be resumed the second week of July. However, Hanrahan had been dealt to the Pirates in a four-player trade on June 30, meaning that he would no longer be on Washington's roster for the finish.

So, when the game resumed and his former Nationals teammates went to bat in the 11th, Hanrahan not only wasn't there, but he didn't see any of the seven-minute finish. Instead, the right-hander was spending some down time with third baseman Andy LaRoche during the Pirates' off-day in Philadelphia.

As it would turn out, a throwing error by Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada allowed Washington to score the winning run almost immediately after the game started back up. And how's this for irony: It was outfielder Nyjer Morgan -- one of the two players the Nationals received from the Pirates in the Hanrahan deal -- who scored the winning run. Morgan started the inning on first as a pinch-runner for Elijah Dukes, who, like Hanrahan, was also no longer on the Nationals' big league club.

Of the 34 appearances Hanrahan made with Washington in 2009, this game would be the only one in which he recorded a win. As a result, Hanrahan finished 1-3 in his half-year stint with the Nationals.

"I'm happy I [received] the win and to see the Nationals get another victory in the win column," Hanrahan said after the game's completion.

This makeup game also featured the unusual feat of a visiting team completing a walk-off win, the first time that had been done since 1971. Since the Astros made only one May trip to Washington, the game was completed at Minute Maid Park prior to the start of another game between the two clubs in Houston.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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