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09/24/08 1:30 AM ET

Hinckley shuts out any doubt for Nats

Washington (59-98) vs. Florida (81-76), Wed., 7:10 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON -- Left-hander Michael Hinckley continues to do the job for the Nationals as a late-inning reliever. On Tuesday, Hinckley pitched two shutout innings to help Shairon Martis pick up his first victory.

Since being called up on Sept. 1, Hinckley has pitched 11 2/3 innings without giving up a run. Manager Manny Acta hinted that Hinckley will go into Spring Training as one of the relievers in the bullpen.

"If he goes to Spring Training with the success he has had the last month, he pretty much has that job locked unless he goes to Spring Training and can't get anybody out for a month," Acta said.

Hinckley has called his big league experience "amazing." The 26-year-old was thought to be finished with the Nationals. Before Sept. 1, he had not had so much as a cup of coffee in the big leagues and was on track to be a Minor League free agent. Then the organization decided to make him a reliever, and he seems to have found his niche.

"I'm going to get home in the offseason and just think back about this month. I'll probably end up breaking down in tears because I'll be so excited," Hinckley said. "Right now, I'm just going day by day, so I don't have time to think about what's going on. I'm trying to come out here and help the team win."

Pitching matchup
WSH: RHP Tim Redding (10-10, 4.67 ERA)
Redding, who was trying to win his 11th game of the season, had a rough outing last Thursday. He lasted three innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Redding didn't have one clean inning. It was the second day in a row a Nationals starter couldn't get past the third inning. Martis also went three innings and gave up six runs to the Mets on Wednesday. Fortunately for the Nationals, the bullpen hasn't been taxed, thanks to the relievers Washington promoted on Sept. 1.

FLA: RHP Josh Johnson (6-1, 3.65 ERA)
On Friday, Johnson saw his streak of eight straight quality starts get snapped, but he still picked up a win against the Phillies. On a night when the 24-year-old clearly didn't have his best stuff, Johnson gave up a season-high six runs (five earned) on seven hits, while walking one and striking out six. Going into that start, Johnson had posted a 2.93 ERA in his previous four games. This year, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in one start against the Nationals.

Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez started Tuesday's game because Cristian Guzman had flu-like symptoms. ... Gonzalez is 16-for-39 since joining the Nationals on Aug. 1. ... Lastings Milledge is hitting .368 with a home run and seven RBIs in his last 14 games. ... Collin Balester, Charlie Manning, Martis, Garrett Mock and Steven Shell each won their first Major League games this year.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN 2

On radio
• WWWT 1500, SBN 1390 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Nationals (Collin Balester, 3-6, 4.83) vs. Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, 2-5, 5.57), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Friday: Nationals (John Lannan, 9-14, 3.86) at Phillies (Joe Blanton, 8-12, 4.79), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Nationals (Odalis Perez, 7-11, 4.27) at Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 15-7, 3.78), 3:55 p.m. ET

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