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Stammen impressing with early performance

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson didn't want to use Craig Stammen on Monday night. The skipper wanted to give Stammen a two-day break, but that didn't happen.

Stammen threw two scoreless innings in Monday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, and that left Johnson shaking his head again about how much the right-hander's been helping.

"He can give you a bunch of innings," Johnson said. "He's been a big part of the winning effort here."

Stammen entered Tuesday night's game with a 2-1 record and 3.38 ERA. He had already pitched in seven of the team's 19 games and was very strong in his last three appearances.

Stammen struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings over those three games. In Monday's game, Stammen threw a pair of scoreless innings and got out of a major jam in the sixth inning after coming in for Dan Haren, getting a 3-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and then, following an intentional walk, striking out Cards pitcher Shelby Miller to end the inning.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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