PITTSBURGH -- Ian Snell is finally starting to pitch like an opening day starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Snell allowed one run while pitching into the seventh inning to earn his first win in 11 starts, helping the Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 on Wednesday night.
"It feels good, but I'm not really worrying about personal stuff," said Snell, who had lost six consecutive decisions. "As long as the team wins, I'm happy. That's all we're shooting for, not who wins what or how, just the team needs a win."
Ryan Doumit homered for the third time in two games and also singled twice, and Freddy Sanchez had two hits and scored a run for the Pirates, who have won three of four. A day after blowing his first save of the season, Matt Capps earned his 16th save by getting Elijah Dukes to ground into a game-ending double play.
Snell (3-6) hadn't won since April 12 and had lost four consecutive outings. He allowed one run on six hits and three walks in six-plus innings this time, striking out six.
"I kept telling myself 'We need a win, we need a win' all night," Snell said. "It was real important. I'd like to see our team do something special here. I think we're going to do something special. Right now, we're playing good baseball, and it's going to continue."
As big of a start as it was for Snell, it also was a significant outing for Capps, who's earned three saves pitching four consecutive days. It's only the second time in his career that Capps appeared in four straight games.
The Pirates' bullpen blew two late leads Tuesday night, and the team sustained its first loss all season when leading at any point after the sixth.
"For me personally, to get back out there the next night and kind of get everything out of the way and get it rolling in the right direction again, that was pretty big," Capps said.
Washington has lost nine of its past 11 -- scoring a total of nine runs in those losses.
"We hit a lot of balls hard right at people," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "I felt good the way we swung the bat. Not always is that going show on the scoreboard."
No Washington player reached third base until the sixth, when Jesus Flores doubled and advanced Dmitri Young to third, and it wasn't until the next inning that Washington got on the board with Dukes' two-out RBI single.
Doumit, who is 7-for-8 in the series, went 4-for-4 with two home runs and two doubles Tuesday night. He had been only 1-for-12 the previous three games after returning from a stint on the disabled list.
His solo shot in the fifth, Doumit's eighth homer of the season, went to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center.
"He's doing great," Pirates manager John Russell said. "He took a few games to get his timing back after being out for a while but it looks like now he is back into the groove he was in when he got hurt. Obviously he's a big boost for our lineup. He seems to be doing very well in the four-hole, and he's really picked us up in that spot."
Pittsburgh's Xavier Nady drove in Sanchez in the seventh to provide a two-run cushion.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first but could have had much more. Washington starter John Lannan allowed hits to the first three batters, capped by Jason Bay's RBI double. But with runners still at second and third and no outs, Lannan escaped without any more damage.
Lannan (4-7) was charged with two runs and seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks in six innings, and the Nationals are winless in his past four starts.
"You really can't control wins and losses. I just control what I can do," Lannan said. "Basically ERA and keeping guys off base with walks and just keeping us in the ball game. We just got to keep on battling and not so much focus on our record."
Doumit is hitting .358. ... The Pirates had won Snell's first three starts but were 3-7 when he had pitched since. ... Washington lost for the second time in six games against Pittsburgh this season. ... The Pirates improved to 24-0 when leading through seven innings.