Anthony Rendon broke up Rich Hill’s nascent no-hit bid in the fourth inning of Saturday afternoon’s game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, homering to left on a 1-2 “fast”ball to make it a 2-1 game in the visiting team’s favor.
Rendon went 2 for 3 with a walk on the day in what ended up a 3-2 loss, leaving the Nationals’ 27-year-old third baseman with a .304/.403/.539 line, 37 doubles, 24 home runs, 76 walks, and 77 Ks in 136 games and 559 plate appearances on the season.
Dusty Baker’s Nationals didn’t generate much offense against Hill and the Dodgers in the second straight loss to LA.
“He was effectively wild,” Baker said of Hill. “He had a pretty good curveball, and then he would try to quick-pitch guys. All except Anthony, it kind of worked.”
In an interview on MLB Network Radio earlier this week, and in his pregame presser before the second of three with the Dodgers on Saturday, Baker talked up Rendon and discussed what he’s seen from the Nats’ 2011 first-round pick in two seasons on the bench in Washington.
“He’s probably the guy I had known the least about,” Baker explained to MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern and Cliff Floyd. “But he’s the guy Matt Williams had raved about when I asked Matty about interviewing for this job, and you know I trusted Matt’s word, big time. This guy just plays. No fanfare, he said he doesn’t [do] social media. Man, he can do it all.
“He’s a guy — much like Barry Bonds — that I’ve never seen a guy get 0-2 and then next thing you know it’s 3-2, and then he’ll get a hit or a walk, he rarely hits into double plays, he rarely strikes out, he can get that two-out single to right field or he can hit that three-run homer to left, and I tell you he’s one of the best I’ve been around and one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and if it wasn’t for [Nolan] Arenado, you’d probably hear a whole lot about him.
“He and Arenado are the class of third base to me.”
Before Saturday’s game, Baker talked about what’s impressed him the most about Rendon this season.
“Just his consistency,” Baker said.
“He’s very consistent, very consistent in his personality, and I think I covered this yesterday or the day before. He’s kind of the last stand and the last resort in the lineup.
“He picks up what the other guys leave out there, and a lot of times with two outs.
“You don’t know how important — especially come playoff time, they play and pitch to make you get a two-out hit.”
Heading into tonight’s game, Rendon has a seven-game hit streak going, over which he’s 9 for 25 with two doubles and a home run.
He’ll try to extend it against Dodgers’ left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu... and he’ll do it from the three-spot in the order.