Yunel Escobar had multiple four-hit nights over the course of his eight-plus major league seasons, but the 32-year-old infielder played 1,096 games without connecting for five hits in one game before he went 5 for 5 in the Nationals' 6-4 win over the Miami Marlins last Monday night in Washington, D.C.
All five of Escobar's hits against the Marlins were singles with the fifth hit a two-out, two-run opposite field line drive that capped off an eighth-inning comeback which started with a leadoff walk by Ryan Zimmerman and a big one-out, two-run home run by Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond.
"We've got some guys that can hit the ball over the fence," second-year Nationals' manager Matt Williams said after the win in the nation's capital, "and [Desmond] got a good pitch to hit tonight and got us even and a couple of base hits and Yunel did what he does, stayed inside of the baseball and really good night for him."
What Yunel does, Williams went on to explain, is remain calm at the plate, take what he's given and make contact.
"He doesn't get outside himself," Williams said.
"He understands situations. He understands what's needed in that given at bat. He's got an idea of what the pitcher is going to do. He studies the previous hitters before him and simply has an approach when he goes up there. Those kinds of at bats are at bats that prolong innings, they get you wins like it did tonight. Gets, certainly, our middle of the lineup guys to the plate more often, which is all positive for us. It's just a nice job of hitting all night long."
Though it took him 1,096 games to get his first five-hit game, Escobar only needed five more games before he got his second.
On Monday night in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field, Escobar went 5 for 5 again, lining a single to center the first time up, sending a grounder to right in at bat no.2 in the second, a grounder to left in the third, going back to center in at bat no.4 in the fifth and then again in the seventh.
Escobar drove in a run, scored one and ended the night with a .342/.388/.423 line on the year and hits in four straight games, six of his last seven games and 22 of 28 overall this season.
"He's calm and he's just taking what's given to him," Williams said after the Nationals' 11-1 win over the D-Backs.
Escobar left Sunday's game with a stomach bug which the manager said got worse as the game went on, but he was back in the lineup for the series-opener in Arizona doing what he's done throughout his first month-plus with the Nats, who acquired Escobar from the Oakland A's in a trade for Tyler Clippard this winter..
"He's hitting the ball middle of the diamond, which creates opportunity," Williams continued.
Yunel Escobar is the first player in #Nats history (2005-present) to post multiple five-hit games in the same season.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 12, 2015
"You stand at the plate and it looks like that's the most crowded spot on the diamond, but that's actually the biggest. So, he understands himself, he takes the ball the other way when he has to and we've seen him, over the course of this season anyway, get a bunch of big hits for us. It's nice to see him get back out there today, feels good, that's all I care about, regardless of how many hits he gets, he feels better today, which is good."
Yunel Escobar is the first player with multiple 5-hit games in a 7-game span since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 (via @EliasSports).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 12, 2015
• We talked about Escobar's five-hit game, Max Scherzer's outing, Wilson Ramos and his hit streak and more on Nats Nightly last night: