After a 9-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, the Nationals have their second longest run in their five seasons in the nation's capital. They won 10 in a row from June 2-12, 2005.
"I knew we were capable of playing like this," Dunn said. "I wish we would have played this loose and had fun early in the year, and we wouldn't be how many games back."
When Jim Riggleman replaced Manny Acta four weeks ago, the Nationals were a frightful 26-61. They're 14-11 since.
"Now It's good that we're finally playing the way we're capable, but it's frustrating because we should have been playing like this since Day 1," Dunn said.
But the happiest man in the locker room was J.D. Martin, a 26-year-old who finally reached the big leagues last month and picked up his first win and first hit.
Martin (1-2) became the fifth Nationals pitcher to record their first win as a starter -- and the second in two games. He also became the second to get hit with a shaving cream pie.
"I kind of anticipated it," Martin said. "I feel like part of the team now."
On a sultry afternoon, with temperatures in the low 90s, Martin yielded one run and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out one.
Martin's only mistake came three pitches in, when Trent Oeltjen led off the game with a homer. It was Oeltjen's second home run in four major league games.
Martin's most challenging inning was his last. In the fifth, Alex Romero led off with a single and Chris Young doubled. With runners on second and third and none out, Martin was able to pitch out of trouble.
Sosa pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for his second save.
Dunn's two-run home run off Yusmeiro Petit (2-6) in the bottom of the first gave Washington a 2-1 lead. Zimmerman scored ahead of Dunn. His double extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and he feels the vibe in the clubhouse.
"You're confident -- no matter what part of the game it is," Zimmerman said. "It's a good feeling. It's contagious just like everything else."
In the third, Zimmerman doubled again and scored on Dukes' RBI single.
With two outs in the fourth, Nyjer Morgan singled and stole second. Cristian Guzman hit a slow roller to third. Reynolds threw wildly to first and Morgan scored. Guzman was credited with a single -- extending his hitting streak to 15 games.
Guzman's bases-loaded walk in the sixth gave Washington a 5-1 lead.
Petit, who didn't give up a hit until the eighth inning in his last start, against Pittsburgh on Aug. 4, surrendered four runs -- one unearned -- in four innings. He yielded nine hits, walked one and struck out three. In his previous two starts, he allowed just five hits in 15 innings.
"We were outplayed. They beat us," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. "They've caught some good energy, and they're playing on all facets."
Washington scored four runs in the eighth highlighted by Dukes' bases-loaded, two-run single.
- Oeltjen's leadoff home run was Arizona's third of the season.
- Juan Padilla, who played in the minor leagues for 12 seasons before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, also had his first major league hits.
- Diamondbacks OF Gerardo Parra was held out of the starting lineup with a sore right calf. He pinch hit in the eighth, and saw his 10-game hitting streak end.