Tanner Roark and the Washington Nationals’ relief corps managed to keep the Houston Astros in the yard in the series opener on Tuesday night, with all three runs allowed on RBI singles, but in the second game of three, the major league leaders in home runs hit three out of the park.
A.J. Hinch’s Astros added six runs to their major league-best 708 runs scored on the season on Wednesday night, so the offense that came in a quick burst in the eighth shouldn’t be any surprise.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position to score a few more runs, we didn’t just sort of sneak up on this offense for the season,” Hinch told reporters after the Astros evened things up in the three-game set in Minute Maid Park and snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Nationals that went all the way back to April 19, 2012.
“I know we get into these stretches and all of a sudden you’re identified as what you are based on what you’re recently doing. When you’re doing well you feel great, and when you’re doing poorly you think, ‘What’s wrong?’ and it’s not like we’re not any good. We’ve got guys that have been putting up pretty good at bats. It was nice to break out and get a couple of runs there, we had a couple of opportunities we missed on, but throughout the day I think our at bats were pretty good.”
“The homers kind of did us in tonight, but this is a club that hits homers,” Dusty Baker told reporters. after the Nats scored just one run on starter Mike Fiers.
“We didn’t have a bunch of opportunities,” Baker said. “They pitched us pretty tough.
“Fiers was good, and he threw more fastballs than we expected, because we were told that he threw a lot of offspeed stuff and changeups, but he was throwing his fastball up in the zone, and his breaking ball and changeup down in the zone, and so we just didn’t catch up to him.”
In the series finale tonight, the Nationals take on Astros’ lefty Dallas Keuchel, who’s coming off back-to-back wins in which he’s given up one run in 13 2⁄3 innings.
Washington starts the night with a .282/.336/.470 line against left-handers this season, good for 2nd/10th/3rd across the line in the majors.