One night after a hard-fought, come-from-behind, walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds, the Washington Nationals won a laugher, taking the second game of three in Nationals Park by a score of 18-3 on Saturday afternoon.
The NL East-leading Nats collected 19 hits and scored 18 runs in their second straight win over the Reds, with everyone pitching in.
Trea Turner and Michael A. Taylor’s contributions stood out from the rest, with the Nationals’ 24-year-old shortstop going 5 for 5 on the day with a walk and four runs, and the 26-year-old outfielder going 4 for 5 with a double, two home runs, and four runs scored.
Turner’s five-hit game and free pass took him from a .262/.297/.413 line on the year to a .275/.312/.424 line.
After a slow start to the season and a hamstring injury that led to a DL stint, Turner said he was finally starting to get comfortable at the plate.
“It’s starting to come around,” Turner told reporters. “I feel more comfortable and found some holes today.
“I felt like the last few games I’ve been hitting the ball pretty good, lining out some, so I guess that’s a good sign and today they fell.”
“As he goes, we go,” Dusty Baker said. “And a lot of things happen when Trea gets on base, and so he was on base all six times and went 5 for 5, I mean, that’s quite a day.
“There aren’t many times in your career you’re going to go 5 for 5, more less have five at bats, you know what I mean, so yeah, that was big, that was big of him to put the ball in play, hitting the ball to right, up the middle, and that’s what Trea is best at when he’s going well.”
Turner was happy with his at bats, with line drives to right the first two times up, hits to left for the next two, and another opposite field single for his fifth hit.
“I thought my first two at bats today were really good in the sense that I thought I hit some tough pitches and still hit them hard and hit them the other way,” Turner said.
“I wasn’t selling out or anything like that and it felt good, and then I battled in the last few at bats and found some more holes, so it’s just a matter of just competing and not giving anything away.”
Taylor hit an opposite field single to right the first time up, homered to center in the fourth (No. 9), right-center in the sixth (No. 10) and then drove a low liner by third for his fourth hit.
He returned to the lineup after two games off (outside of a pinch hit appearance on Friday night), missing time with an undisclosed injury, but he said the time off helped him to heal up.
“I needed it,” Taylor said. “I was a little banged up. Been diving and running into walls a little bit. My body was a little banged up. The time off I think really helps.”
“I’m getting better. Slowly getting better I think,” Taylor added, but asked again what it was that was bothering him, Taylor said simply, “just banged up.”
“Michael Taylor had an outstanding game,” Baker said.
“[Daniel Murphy] had a big double to clear the bases. [Ryan Zimmerman] got us on the board early with a double and two RBIs, and so you like to see guys -- [Matt] Wieters got a couple big hits, it’s good to see our offense going up and down the lineup, and then guys off the bench contributed, you like to see everybody a part of it.”
“Everybody has produced all year, for the most part,” Turner said, “... and I think when someone is down, another guy picks him up and gets a hit and then when everybody is doing well, you get a day like today, and it’s not a fun lineup to face for other teams and that’s how we want it to be.”
Reds’ starter Homer Bailey, in his first start since last August, returned to the majors and got knocked around. He was out after just 1 2⁄3 IP, having given up six hits, three walks and eight earned runs.
Reliever Lisaverto Bonilla gave up eight hits and five runs in 3 1⁄3 IP, Ariel Hernandez allowed a run in two innings of work, and Blake Wood surrendered four hits and four runs in an inning of relief work in the ninth.
“Our offense was big,” Baker said. “Homer in his first outing, he wasn’t nearly as sharp or as good as I’ve seen Homer.”
It was the Nationals’ second straight win over the Reds and their sixth in the last ten.
“We just got to complete the sweep tomorrow,” Baker said.