The Washington Nationals have been in their fair share of nail-biters this season. Last night’s game against the San Francisco Giants was nothing of the sort. The Nats blew the game open with a seven-run third inning and tacked on six more in the next two frames to completely clobber the N.L. West leading Giants 14-2.
The 21 overall hits tied a Nationals team record.
Coupled with the Atlanta Braves loss to San Diego, the Nats now enjoy a 5 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the N.L. East, extending their Major League best record to 72-44.
Everyone got into the offensive attack. Five different Nats batters had three or more hits. The 6-7-8 hitters (Danny Espinosa, Roger Bernadina and Kurt Suzuki) combined for 11 hits and 10 RBIs, including Espinosa’s three run home run, his 12th of the season. Espinosa and Bernadina had four hits apiece.
The offensive fireworks made a winner of Gio Gonzalez, who went 6 2/3 innings before allowing a two-run home run to Brandon Crawford. Gonzalez (W, 15-6, 3.29) gave up just those two runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four.
Eight straight Nationals reached base in the thrid inning, bookended by two outs by Gonzalez. The victim was Ryan Vogelsong, who entered play with the lowest ERA in the N.L. among qualifiers. By giving up eight earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings, Jordan Zimmermann, Tuesday night’s starter for the Nats had leapfrogged Vogelsong into the top spot.
Tom Gorzelanny pitched 2 1/3 innings of two-hit relief to secure the victory.
THE TAKEAWAY: Of the Nats 21 hits, only six were for extra bases. This was a case of balls finding grass all over the park. It’s fun to watch, though, and nice to have a laugher once in a while. Adam LaRoche was the only Nats starter not to have a base hit, but he did walk and score a run.
THE GOOD: Just too much to mention.
THE BAD: Michael Morse left he game in the fifth inning and was later seen in the Nats dugout with his hand/wrist area in some sort of splint. No details were available at the time of this post. Bernadina was a late starter, inserted into the lineup when Jayson Werth couldn’t go. Hopefully for Nats fans these are minor injuries and neither player is out for very long.
THE UGLY: Giants reliever Brad Penny made things go from bad to worse, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in two innings.
THE STATS: 21 hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks. 10-for-20 with RISP, 12 LOB, no GIDP. No errors, no DPs.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday at 10:15 ET against the Giants. Jordan Zimemrmann (9-6, 2.35) faces Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08).
NATS NOTES: According to sources, 3B Anthony Rendon was promoted to AA Harrisburg after High-A Potomac’s game Monday night.