WASHINGTON, D.C.: With four steals and two runs scored in Tuesday night’s win over the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner tied a franchise mark for stolen bases in a single game and set off a clubhouse rant by Cubs’ catcher, Miguel Montero.
Turner singled, stole second, and third, and scored on a Brian Goodwin single in the bottom of the first, tying the game up at 1-1, then walked to start the third, stole second... and third, and scored on a throwing error on a two-out grounder, 2-1.
They were Turner’s 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th steals in 24 games this month and his 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32nd stolen bases this season as he’s turned things up recently.
“Well, he had that hamstring earlier,” Baker said, referring to the hamstring injury that landed Turner on the DL early this season and slowed him down when he returned.
“He couldn’t when the weather was cool, he couldn’t run,” Baker explained, “... and now the weather is warm, he feels better and just, ‘Run, Trea, Run!’ I mean, I enjoy watching him run. He creates — you’ve got to watch him and try to get the hitter at the same time, and he picks his spots most of the time, when to run.
“[First base coach] Davey Lopes has helped him pick his spots and when, and times, and moves, and jumps, and Davey is invaluable over there, especially in Trea’s young career.”
Anthony Rendon stole one base, and Michael A. Taylor swiped two bags, leaving Cubs’ backstop Miguel Montero 1 for 31 trying to throw runners out on the season.
Montero was clearly a little fed up:
Miguel Montero had some thoughts on those stolen bases... pic.twitter.com/PwELkTTs8t— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) June 28, 2017
Baker confirmed as much (about being able to run on Arrieta and Montero) when he was asked about the Nationals winning with speed, patience, and contact, as opposed to their usually power displays.
“When you have a guy that you can run on on the mound, and Montero isn’t throwing like he was before, earlier,” Baker said, “... you have to take advantage of every situation that you can and also you’ve got to have different games, so sometimes you win with speed and contact and sometimes you win with power. So it’s nice to know you can call upon both of those games whenever you need them.”
Baker and Turner have credited Lopes with helping everyone on the team get better on the basepaths.
[ed. note - “Baker even told a reporter on the last road trip Lopes could help him (the reporter) steal bases.”]
Turner told MASN’s Dan Kolko after tonight’s game about the unique way that Lopes motivates him to run.
“He gets mad when I don’t go,” Turner joked. “He’s not really saying anything, he just gives me that look like, ‘Why are you still here?’ Sometimes I have to explain myself, and sometimes I’m like, ‘Ok fine, you’re right, I probably should run.’
“It’s that kick in the butt like, ‘Get going!’ and I think it helps me out.”