WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mark Reynolds homered on back-to-back pitches, one for a walk-off blast last night, and the second a two-run home run in the second inning of tonight’s 18-4 win over the Miami Marlins in the nation’s capital. Reynolds followed that blast up with an RBI double in his second at bat, and a two-run single in his third, for four consecutive hits, as the Nationals scored seven runs in the fifth inning to blow things wide open, and he hit his third home run in five at bats in the sixth for eight RBIs, then drove in two more with a single in the seventh for a cool 10, tying Anthony Rendon’s single-game franchise record, with his sixth consecutive hit, in the #Nats’ 14th win in a row against the Fish.
Scherzer vs the Fish: Winless in his last five outings with a 2.73 ERA, 11 walks, 41 Ks, and a .178/.265/.322 line against in his last 33 innings over that stretch, Nats’ ace Max Scherzer was facing a Marlins’ lineup tonight that put up seven hits and four runs on him when Washington was in Miami late in May, knocking him out of the game after a 32-pitch sixth in which he gave up two of the hits and two of the runs he allowed overall.
“He battled through, tried to get through that sixth inning,” Davey Martinez told reporters after that start vs the Fish, “... but I had a feeling that that was it for him.
“We have this thing, so I know when he’s done, and he was done then.”
Scherzer got off to a good start against the Fish tonight in the nation’s capital, tossing three scoreless on 29 pitches (with a quick, five-pitch third after the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 led on a Mark Reynolds’ blast), but Starlin Castros got hold of a hanging 2-2 curve in the top of the fourth, and J.T. Realmuto hit an 0-2 slider out the same way to tie it up at 2-2.
Bryce Harper (single) and Mark Reynolds (double) combined to give Scherzer a 3-2 lead to work with after four, but a leadoff triple (by JT Riddle) and RBI single (by Miguel Rojas) tied things back up two at bats into the fifth, 3-3, before a seven-run bottom of the inning made it 10-3 Washington, and the Nationals added three in the sixth, 13-3, before Scherzer gave up a third blast in the top of the seventh, 13-4... and we should note that the Nats’ ace got a total of seven runs in support during his five-start winless streak.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 3 HRs, 109 P, 78 S, 10/1 GO/FO.
Chen vs Washington: Wei-Yin Chen gave up three hits and one run, on a Wilmer Difo home run in the eighth, completing 7 1⁄3 innings against the Nationals when he faced them in May in Miami. The Marlins’ left-hander was (1-3) in seven outings with a 5.85 ERA, 11 walks, 26 Ks, and a .311/.356/.455 against in 32 1⁄3 IP between that outing and his start against the Nats in the nation’s capital tonight.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked before tonight’s game about how his hitters needed to approach the left-hander.
“He’s very sneaky,” Martinez said. “He’s anywhere from 89-92, tops out at maybe 93, but his ball — he’s got deception — his ball comes out and it’s pretty live. We’ve got to get him up. He’s got a good changeup, good slider, we’ve got to get him up in the strike zone, and just hit the ball in the strike zone. I saw it all the time, get the ball in the strike zone, but get him up, that’s the most important thing.”
Mark Reynolds got a fastball up on the first pitch Chen threw to him tonight, and lined it out to left for a two-run home run that gave him dingers in consecutive at bats after last night’s walk-off winner. No. 9 of 2018 for Reynolds, 2-0 Nationals.
With the score tied at 2-2 after three and a half, Bryce Harper lined a one-out single into the right-center gap and scored on a double by third off Mark Reynolds’ bat, 3-2.
It was 3-3 in the fifth, when Anthony Rendon lined a 3-2 changeup to left to drive in two and knock Chen out of the game, 5-3. Two more runs were added to his line later in the fifth.
Wei-Yin Chen’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 84 P, 55 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Consecutive Pitches: Mark Reynolds, who hit last night’s walk-off winner on a 3-1 fastball from Marlins’ righty Kyle Barraclough, talked after the game about the difficulty of trying hard to find his stroke in pinch hit appearances and random starts.
After a hot start with the Nationals (.356/.396/.778, 6 HRs in 48 PAs in May), Reynolds had the kind of June the Nats had as a team (.111/.208/.178, 1 HR in 53 PAs).
“Normally I play every day so it’s kind of easier to get out of, getting spot starts and pinch hits and normally off the back end of the bullpen it’s a little more tough to get some confidence and get some swings, and I got a couple days there in Philly where I put some good at bats together got a few hits, hit a home run and kind of got the ball rolling the other way, because it was unraveling real quick. That day got me going again, and a lot more confident when I go up to the plate now.”
Reynolds hit the walk-off winner on Friday night, then hit the next pitch he saw, in the home-half of the second, out to just about the same spot.
Reynolds took a 1-0 change to left via third in his next at bat in the bottom of the fourth inning, doubling in a run after the Fish tied it on back-to-back home runs.
In his second at bat, Reynolds doubled to drive in a run with his third consecutive hit, and he added a fourth with a two-run single in the fifth ... and a fifth with a three-run HR in the sixth. For reals? I wouldn’t lie. Oh, and he added a two-run single in the seventh. 5 for 5, 10 RBIs.
Mark Reynolds is h̶e̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶u̶p̶.̶— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 8, 2018
ON FIRE. pic.twitter.com/5Rhu2lGHGw
BULLPEN ACTION: Eliezer Hernandez took over for Chen with runners on first and third and one out in the Nationals’ fifth and threw a wild pitch with Mark Reynolds up at the plate that allowed Bryce Harper to take second, and Reynolds’ third hit of the night (and fourth hit in a row) drove both runners in to make it a 7-3 game.
Pedro Severino followed (after a single by Wilmer Difo) with a three-run home run to left on a 1-1 fastball, 10-3 Nats. HR No. 2 of 2018 for Severino.
And let’s all watch that bat flip together again:
When you know, you know, ya know? pic.twitter.com/LiVuvdf8aM— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 8, 2018
Mark Reynolds was 3 for 3 on the night and 4 for his last 4 when he stepped in with two on and two out in the sixth and launched a 90 mph 2-2 fastball from Hernandez, sending one more into the left field seats. 13-3 #Nationals.
Juan Soto doubled to drive in two runs in the bottom of the seventh, 15-4, with Hernandez still on the mound for the Fish. No. 11 for Soto. Spencer Kieboom drove in No. 16 with a sac fly, and Reynolds’ fifth hit of the night was a two-run single, 18-4.
[ed. note - “There was too much going on to edit all of the above thoroughly, get over it if there are any typos or errors.”]
Shawn Kelley handled the eighth and ninth innings for the Nationals to wrap it up.
Final Score: 18-4 Nationals.
Nationals now 45-43