Washington, DC – Ian Desmond drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the seventh inning and Washington utilized six different relievers to down the Minnesota Twins, 5-4, to take both games of a day-night doubleheader at Nationals Park.
Anthony Swarzak (1-2) blew the lead in the seventh, allowing Desmond's tie- breaking RBI double which proved to be the difference.
Tyler Clippard (5-1) earned the win after tossing a scoreless seventh inning, while Rafael Soriano worked around a walk and a single in the ninth to secure the victory and obtain his 16th save of the season.
Jayson Werth had two hits and drove in two runs, Denard Span hit an RBI triple, and Adam LaRoche added a sacrifice fly for Washington, which dropped the series opener on Saturday.
Nats starter Nate Karns, making his third career big league start, lasted just three frames, allowing all four Minnesota runs on five hits. He has yet to get past five innings this season.
Pedro Florimon hit a two-run homer and Chris Herrmann had three hits and drove in two runs for the Twins. Samuel Deduno lasted the first five innings, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and three walks.
In Sunday's first game, Desmond had three hits and two RBI to back seven outstanding innings from Jordan Zimmermann as Washington posted a 7-0 shutout. Minnesota mustered just three total hits, with Chris Parmelee accounting for two of them. The Twins had won eight of 11 coming into Sunday.
Washington jumped on the board in the first, as Werth smacked an RBI single, scoring Roger Bernadina for a 1-0 lead. The Twins, though, added two runs in the second to take the lead and two more in the third to stake a 4-1 advantage.
Karns issued consecutive walks to open up the second, but then forced two quick outs to put runners on second and third. Herrmann then hit a two-run double to right to make it 2-1.
In the third, Karns retired the first two batters of the inning, but allowed Eduardo Escobar to single, before serving up a two-run shot to Florimon, his third of the year.
"We had a lead and we ended up giving it up," Twins manager Ron Gardenire said. "It was a very frustrating game for us."
Werth again found success against Deduno in the home half of the third. Bernadina and Ryan Zimmerman opened up the action with back-to-back singles and Werth scored Bernadina with a single to right to cut the Nats' deficit to 4-2.
The Nationals threatened in the fifth, thanks to Deduno issuing two walks and a fielding error which led to Werth at the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. Werth, though, popped out, but Adam LaRoche followed and made it 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to right. Deduno escaped by fanning Desmond to end the inning.
Swarzak replaced Deduno in the sixth and looked to work around a leadoff single with two down. Span, however, ripped a RBI triple down the first-base line, tying the game at 4-4.
LaRoche doubled with one down in the seventh and Desmond traded places, giving the Nats the eventual game-winner.
"We're taking steps in the right direction, and that was a huge step," Desmond said.
Soriano walked Herrmann with two outs in the ninth and allowed Joe Mauer to single, moving Herrmann to third. Josh Willingham, though, popped out to first to end the game.
The Twins recalled OF Chris Colabello from Triple-A Rochester as their 26th man for the doubleheader, while the Nationals recalled 1B/OF Chris Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse ... Desmond extended his hitting streak to 12 games, setting a career-high ... Karns has given up 10 earned runs on 17 hits -- including five homers -- over 12 innings this season ... Following Sunday's doubleheader, the Nationals optioned first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore to Syracuse.