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Nats Nightly: Nationals' offense comes up big in series opener with White Sox

Washington's bats came up big after Nationals' starter Joe Ross struggled in the series opener in Chicago and the Nats beat the White Sox, 10-5, for their second straight win after the offense came alive in the finale of the three-game set in Cincinnati.

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Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Anthony Rendon's 3 for 5 night in the series opener in Chicago left the 26-year-old Nationals' third baseman 36 for 126 (.286/.384/.516) with nine doubles and six home runs over his last 34 games. Rendon hit an RBI double, a two-run HR and an infield single in what ended up a 10-5 win over the White Sox.

On the year, the 2011 1st Round pick now has a .267/.354/.419 line, up from .242/.310/.286 at the end of April.

"Water seeks its own level sooner or later... We welcome Anthony back. He hasn't been anywhere, but the ball is jumping off his bat again and he had some clutch hits for us. -Dusty Baker on Anthony Rendon finding his swing in the last month-plus

After he went 0 for 5 in the offense-filled finale in Cincinnati, Rendon got in on the action last night and as Nats' skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after the game, he's begun to turn a corner after a slow start to the season.

"Water seeks its own level sooner or later," Baker said. "We've got a lot of games to play. We welcome Anthony back. He hasn't been anywhere, but the ball is jumping off his bat again and he had some clutch hits for us."

Four of Rendon's six home runs on the year have come in his last 43 plate appearances as well, and all of them have come since May 3rd as he's alleviated some concerns about his lack of power at the start of the year, when he went 109 PAs without hitting one out.

So has Baker noticed anything different from Rendon, who moved from the two-spot to the six-hole in mid-May.

"No, it's just a matter of repetition," Baker explained. "That's what hitting is, a matter of repetition and a matter of getting your timing.

"He's not fouling back as many pitches, which a lot of times is what gets you in trouble, you foul back pitches that you should put in play. Now he's making more consistent contact, solid contact.

"Sometimes you just have to play to get your timing and this is slowly becoming, other than tonight in this cold weather here, this is when the hitters tend to wake up."

Baker talked after the finale with the Reds about seeing positive signs from the offense and the Nationals' bats came up big against last night when Joe Ross struggled with his command early in the series opener with the Sox.

"The results are better," he said. "This club can hit. We've been sporadic in our offense, inconsistent in our offense, so, like you said, hitting breeds confidence and confidence is spreading around."

Daniel Murphy, oddly enough, was the only member of the Nats' DH-aided lineup to go hitless last night as Jayson Werth, Rendon and Michael A. Taylor all put together multi-hit games. Bryce Harper went 1 for 4 with three RBIs.

"We had some guys have some big nights tonight. You look at Harp, he hit the ball hard four times which is a great sign. Glad to have [Ryan Zimmerman] back. Big [Wilson] Ramos continues to swing.

"Michael Taylor had a very good night, in the outfield and at the plate. So, we had some big hits from some guys."

We talked about Rendon getting back to being Rendon and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly:

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