Storen impresses in rare save opportunity

Storen impresses in rare save opportunity

WASHINGTON -- With Rafael Soriano taking a couple of days off and working on his slider, right-hander Drew Storen came on in the ninth and picked up his second save of the season in the Nationals' 3-2 victory over the Phillies on Sunday.

Storen retired the side in order and ended the game by striking out Ryan Howard. It was Storen's first save since June 30 against the Marlins. Closing games is nothing new for Storen. After all, he saved 43 games for Washington in 2011.

Manager Matt Williams didn't tell Storen beforehand that he would close the game. In fact, with Soriano out, Williams said the closer would be determined by matchups. Because Storen was able to get Carlos Ruiz to line out to left fielder Bryce Harper and strike out Marlon Bryd, Williams decided to let Storen face Howard.

"[Storen] pitched really well. He got Byrd and Howard on breaking balls, and he came in there and shut the door," Williams said.

Besides Storen, Williams said a few relievers could close for the Nationals. He mentioned Tyler Clippard and Matt Thornton. Even Aaron Barrett could get a shot.

"Today, it set up good for Drew," Williams said. "He did his job. He came in and closed it."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.