The day began with string of transactions, every one of them significant and in some cases surprising, not necessarily designed to come in unison but certainly having the collective effect of shaking up a roster that for two months had underachieved and left the Nationals with a losing record during the first week of June.

Except, for eight innings Tuesday night, nothing about these new-look Nationals looked, well, new. They got another great pitching performance from Jordan Zimmermann but still found themselves trailing thanks to some sloppy defense and a complete lack of offense.

Inside the dugout at Nationals Park, though, heads were not drooped. Players remained upbeat. And the key veteran just activated off the disabled list led the rallying cry.

"I've got all the confidence in the world in this team," Jayson Werth said. "It's just something you go through with a young team and guys finding their way in the league. We've got so much talent, sometimes it's easy to get in your own way. Not surprising. But at the same time, it's time to get it going."

So they did. At long last, the Nationals mounted a late rally, storming back to score the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the ninth, beat the Mets 3-2 and enjoy something not enjoyed in these parts since Werth's at-bat for the ages last October: a walk-off celebration.

"A huge win," Zimmermann said. "Everyone was down a little bit from the last road trip. If we would have dropped this one, it would've been a heartbreaker. We got it when we needed one."

A Nationals lineup that entered play with the majors' worst on-base percentage (.287) tried its hardest for eight innings to bring that number down to even greater depths, managing all of four hits and a walk off Jeremy Hefner and Brandon Lyon. Five times in those eight innings, they went down in order. Seven times, they found themselves with two outs and nobody on base.

But then Ryan Zimmerman jump-started a much-needed rally off Mets closer Bobby Parnell, leading off the bottom of the ninth with a shot to right-center. The ball struck the wall on the fly, and Zimmerman immediately knew he'd be trying to stretch the hit into a double. But he also knew the guy retrieving the ball — old pal Rick Ankiel — has the best outfield arm in the game.

"You gotta go for it right there," Zimmerman said. "A double is so much bigger than a single in that situation. It just puts so many other things into play than a single does. It was close, but it was worth it."