Through the first two games of the Washington Nationals' four-game set against the Mets in Citi Field, 28-year-old Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond was 1 for 8 with three Ks, but on Saturday night in New York, Desmond went 3 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored in the NL East division-leader's 10-3 win.
Desmond took a free pass in front of Bryce Harper in the second, and scored when Harper homered to right off Zack Wheeler.
In the fourth, Desmond led off with a grounder though the right side, took second on a Bryce Harper single, then stole third, collecting his 20th stolen base of the season, before scoring when Mets' catcher Travis d'Arnaud's throw to third went by the base and into left.
Congrats to @IanDesmond20 for going 20-20 (HR/SB) for 3rd straight season! Just the 4th SS in MLB history to do it. pic.twitter.com/LEg7GxIPNy— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 14, 2014
His two-run single in the fifth drove both Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth in to make it 6-0 Nats, and Desmond stole his 21st base of the year before eventually being stranded.
Desmond's third hit of the night on Saturday was his 22nd double of the year as he drove Werth in again to make it 8-3 over the Mets after eight. The line drive to right field fell just short of being Desmond's 23rd home run of the year, boucing off the top of the outfield wall.
Matt Wiliams was asked about Desmond's third straight 20/20 season after the the Nationals' 12th win in 13 games in the Mets' home this season.
"20/20 is good," Williams said, "and he's really good when he's hitting the ball like he's hitting the ball like he's hitting it right now. The other way, in the right-center field gap is key for him. And he hit a couple balls that way tonight, one bullet back through the middle, so he's right on it, staying on the baseball which is good."
Desmond's three-hit night on Saturday left him with a .250/.307/.415 line in the year, 22 doubles, 23 HRs and 21 stolen bases, to go along with a major league-leading 174 Ks in 143 games and 605 plate appearances.
"It is that package," Williams explained. "It's speed and power. He stole a couple of bases tonight. He's got the ability to do a lot of things. When he puts it together it's speed and power and he's shown that this year. Hitting in the five or six-hole or seven-hole where he was early, that provides an extra boost to our offense."
Desmond followed up on the 3 for 4 night in New York on Saturday with a 2 for 4 game in the series finale with the Mets on Sunday, scoring two of the three runs the Nats put up in their 3-0 win.
After singling to start the seventh, Desmond scored on Wilson Ramos' two-run home run to right off Mets' starter Jon Niese.
The 23rd two-base hit of Desmond's 2014 campaign started the ninth and two outs later he scored from third when Danny Espinosa, who walked, was caught in a rundown off first on a pitch from Mets' reliever Carlos Torres that bounced in the dirt but was blocked by catcher Anthony Recker.
"The idea behind that," the Nationals' first-year skipper told reporters, "is if that ball goes in the dirt, we're looking to potentially force a throw to second, but Recker bounced out of there with it. Danny stopped in hopes that [Recker] would throw the ball to second, which he didn't.
"[Espinosa] eventually got caught out there a little bit, and tried to stay in the rundown to get [Desmond] to go."
Desmond broke for home when Mets' second baseman baseman Wilmer drop the ball as he tried to tag Espinosa and scored before the third out was recorded.
"We were fortunate on that one," Williams said.
The insurance run was ultimately uncessary, but it helped the Nationals to their 13th win in sixteen games with the Nats' NL East rivals from New York this season.
For the second time in his six major league campaigns after debutin in 2009, Desmond and the Nationals are headed toward the postseason.
In 2012, the Montreal Expos' 2004 3rd Round pick went 7 for 19 in the five-game NLDS with St. Louis. Desmond told reporters on Saturday that he's just happy the whole team is playing so well.
"I'm really happy with where we're at as a team," Desmond said, and as he explained on Twitter, in his view it's a blessing just to have the opportunities he does.
This game is a blessing and just like in life and faith I strive to get Better Every Day. I'm grateful for all of your support, thank you.— Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) September 14, 2014