An offensive explosion of 15 runs (on 16 hits, three doubles and three home runs — one of them a grand slam) was quite a relief after Washington’s Nationals were shut out in three straight games in the last week.
It started with a run in the sixth, but they scored eight more in the top of the eighth and added six in the ninth.
That first run though...
“Just scoring that one run was kind of nice after three days,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters.
“Big moment for [Bryce Harper],” Martinez added, “... came off the bench. Got a clutch double, cleared the bases and then [Wilmer] Difo smacking a two-run homer the other way, that’s pretty impressive. These guys can hit and they proved it the last couple innings.
“We’ve got to keep it going. Hopefully that will get them going for a while now and we’ll just ride off some runs.”
As for the ridiculousness of scoring 14 runs in two innings after going scoreless over three games and 32 innings?
“That’s baseball,” Martinez said. “And it’s just weird how these things happen, but I know these guys can hit. I do. I believe in them. And they proved it the last couple innings.”
Bryce Harper, who was sitting while recovering from a lingering illness, came on as a pinch hitter for Michael A. Taylor in a crucial spot with the Nationals up 2-0 following a Juan Soto walk with the bases loaded and took a 1-1 pitch from Paul Sewald past first base and to the right field corner to blow things open.
“Very tough [decision],” Martinez said of sending Harper up for Taylor, whose defense in center is helpful late.
“And the decision was, we sent Michael up on deck, if we get a base hit, score two runs, then Michael hits. The fact that we only got one, we needed to score some more runs.
“I felt like we needed to score some more runs and Harper was the perfect guy to hit in that situation.”
The first of Harper’s two hits snapped an 0 for 13 stretch at the plate. He’s back in the lineup for tonight’s series opener in Citizens Bank Park.