The Washington Nationals’ season of disappointment and injury was injected with a measure of life Wednesday night by a 30-year-old journeyman pitcher plucked fresh from Class AAA. In the hitting-friendly confines of Coors Field, right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, toiling in Syracuse before officially getting called up earlier in the day, tossed six valiant innings, conceding just one run and two hits in a 5-1 win.

Ohlendorf, perhaps the seventh or eighth starter in the organization’s hierarchy, cut a clear path through the Rockies lineup. Powered by Ian Desmond, the Nats’ struggling offense produced eight hits and six walks, enough to boost the Nationals (32-32) back to .500. The win also moved them to six games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, losers of three straight.

In a season with more questions than encouraging developments, the 30-year-old Ohlendorf , just 4-5 with a 4.27 ERA at Syracuse, gave the Nationals a needed lift. With Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg still on the disabled list, the Nationals needed a starter.

The Nationals signed Ohlendorf, a Princeton graduate and only the second Nationals player to hail from the Ivy League, this winter for moments like this. Last season, no Nationals starters suffered any injuries and they used eight starters all season. As of Wednesday, Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg had both been out of action since at least late May and Ohlendorf represented their eight starter of the season.

Ohlendorf, with his fourth major league organization, has the stuff to strike out batters – an 8.4 strikeout rate at Syracuse – but has been prone to command issues (30 walks in 71 2 / 3.innings). But over his past three starts for Syracuse, Ohlendorf punched up a 1.56 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 17 1 / 3 innings. This was the Ohlendorf on display Wednesday.

Ohlendorf’s delivery, reminiscent of those of older times in baseball, is a confluence of moving parts. He stands with his back foot near the third base side of the rubber, rocks on his left foot and swinging both arms back behind his body. The uncommon delivery, coupled with his location and change of speeds, fooled hitters for most of six innings. Ohlendorf lived on the outer edges of the strike zone. And when he ventured to the heart of the plate, he miraculously survived.