The Nats entered Sunday two games under .500, fresh off an extra innings loss, after seven consecutive games where they had scored three runs or less. With a day-night doubleheader against the Twins in store, there was an unusual opportunity in their sights. They could gain some traction and do it quick.

Manager Davey Johnson took stock of the situation and called a team meeting in the morning. It was short and simple, a story from his playing days. But the message resonated and, judging by the outcome, must have worked.

The Nats scored a total of 12 runs on the day, which was more than all their previous games in June combined. The first win, a 7-0 drubbing of Minnesota, was a complete beatdown. The fifth inning alone brought five runs across, more than they had scored in an entire game since May 29.

Davey downplayed the move after the blowout, but will take the result.

“I’ll have one every day if we get 14 hits and seven runs,” he said. “It wasn’t much of a meeting. Just about three minutes. Just cheered ‘em up.”

Though Davey was modest about its impact, the message and intention was not lost among the players.

“I mean they don’t just give the Manager of the Year award away,” Ian Desmond said. “Davey’s got a pretty good eye on what’s going on in here and sometimes you just need that freedom from your manager to say, ‘Hey, just go up there, be aggressive and don’t hold anything back.’ He really freed us up today and you can give credit to him, too.”

The Nationals took advantage of the two-game set and broke even at 31-31 on the season, just in time for a day off before a long road trip. Instead of ending their homestand on a poor note, the Nats got a double dose of positive momentum.

“It was huge,” Desmond said “I don’t know if we’ve ever played a doubleheader where you pretty much had to win both. It’s not easy to take two in a doubleheader. We went into extra innings yesterday. We saw their bullpen, they saw ours. It’s just a long day.”

Desmond had three hits, two runs, and two RBI in the first game of the day and batted in the go-ahead run in the Nats’ second win. He scored Adam LaRoche on a seventh inning double that put the Nats up 5-4 and completed their first big comeback of the season. Washington had yet to rally from three runs down to pull out a victory.

Former Twins player Denard Span, who happened to tie the game in the sixth with an RBI triple, didn’t hold back when asked about the game’s potential meaning for the rest of the season.

“This was probably our best ballgame,” he said. “Normally early on in the season when we would get behind we would just fold and give away at-bats. We just kept fighting and having good at-bats.”