Before last season, Daniel Murphy had never hit more than 14 home runs in a full major league campaign.
This afternoon in Cincinnati, in the third game of four with the Reds, Washington’s 32-year-old second baseman, who hit 25 in 2016, hit his 15th and 16th home runs of 2017, sending two long fly balls out to right field for two and three-run home runs in what ended up a 14-4 win for the Nationals.
Tanner Roark’s defense didn’t do him any favors this afternoon, but the right-hander was better than he had been in his last few outings before the All-Star Break.
Roark ended up giving up three runs (all unearned) on four hits in six innings of work on the mound in Great American Ball Park.
Adam Lind, Anthony Rendon, and Jose Lobaton got in on the dingers as well, giving the Nats five overall on the day, as they took their third straight from the Reds and fourth straight overall, and scored 10+ runs for the 17th time in 91 games.
Nationals now 55-36
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Wilmer Difo connected for a one-out single in the first, and took second on an error on the play, but the extra base ended up being unnecessary because Daniel Murphy crushed a 94 mph 0-1 fastball from Homer Bailey and hit a two-out, two-run shot to right field to put the Nationals ahead, 2-0, in the first. #FWAHHH! Murphy’s 15th.
This baseball's Odyssey to the seats was authored by Daniel Murphy. pic.twitter.com/BClWtpHRBS— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 16, 2017
• Adam Lind (No. 8; on an 0-1 fastball) and Chris Heisey (on a 2-2 slider) hit back-to-back doubles off Bailey to start the Nats’ half of the second with Lind scoring on Heisey’s third two-base hit of 2017, 3-0.
Tanner Roark singled and Brian Goodwin got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, and a groundout by Wilmer Difo brought Heisey home, 4-0.
• Homer Bailey lied his way to first on a swinging strike three, [ed. note - “Okay, maybe ‘lied’ is a bit strong.”] acting as if the ball hit the dirt [ed. note - “It didn’t.”] and running to first base as the Nationals threw the ball around the infield. For some reason the umpires agreed and after a Billy Hamilton single there were two on for Jesse Winker, who took a base-loading walk. Joey Votto sent a fly to short-center for out No. 1, and Roark got a potential DP grounder out of Adam Duvall, only to have Wilmer Difo boot it. 4-1 Nationals.
Scooter Gennett brought in a second run with a groundout, and it was 4-2 Nats after three in GABP.
• Wilmer Difo and Bryce Harper took back-to-back walks from Bailey to start the fifth and Daniel Murphy stepped in next and jacked a hanging-a$$ 1-2 slider, sending a no-doubter out to right to put the Nationals ahead 7-2. No. 16 for Murphy.
"FWAHHH" is the song of the summer. pic.twitter.com/iqrUPCP274— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 16, 2017
Anthony Rendon singled to knock Bailey out of the game, and Ariel Hernandez took over on the mound and gave up a two-run home run to right by Adam Lind, 9-2.
• Homer Bailey’s Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 90 P, 56 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
• Jesse Winker walked with one down in the fifth, took third on a two-out single/error, and scored on a two-out single by Scooter Gennett to make it 9-3 Nationals after five.
• Tanner Roark’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 101 P, 65 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
• Anthony Rendon jacked a 2-2 slider inside from Drew Storen and hit his third home run of the series and 19th home run of the season out to left field to make it 10-3.
• Jose Lobaton hit a two-out, two-run home run to deep center off Storen to make it a 12-3 game.
• Enny Romero gave up a single and a walk in the seventh, putting two on with two out in front of Scooter Gennett, who drove in his third run of the game with a line drive hit to right, 12-4.
• Tony Cingrani gave up a leadoff single to center by Wilmer Difo, and a double off the wall in center by Bryce Harper, and Difo scored on a one-out groundout by Anthony Rendon, 13-4, before Harper came in on a bloop single by Adam Lind, 14-4.
• Joe Blanton worked around a single in a scoreless eighth, and Trevor Gott came on for the ninth and threw a scoreless frame to end it. Final Score: 14-4 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With losses in each of the first two games this weekend, the Cincinnati Reds lead in the all-time series with the Washington Nationals fell to 43-41, and the Nationals now have a 21-17 record against the Reds since 2012.
- Heading into play today, Anthony Rendon leads the NL in fWAR (4.6), and he’s second in the majors, behind only the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge (5.4 fWAR).
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Rendon is 32 for 77 (.416 AVG) with nine doubles, seven home runs, 16 walks and 18 runs scored... since June 15th.
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.277), OBP (.345), SLG (.468), hits (501), extra-base hits (329), and doubles (185).
- Bryce Harper extended his current hit streak to 10-straight games last night, over which he’s 17 for 39 with two doubles and four home runs, and he also has an 18-game on-base streak going.
- Tanner Roark was making his seventh career start against the Reds, after going (1-2) with a 4.37 ERA in the previous six outings.
Nationals now 55-36