With the score tied at 1-1 in the top of the eighth on Sunday afternoon in San Diego, Howie Kendrick hit a 2-2 curve from Padres’ reliever Craig Stammen out to left-center for a homer that put Washington up by a run. Trea Turner hit a 1-0 sinker out to center in the next at bat. Adam Eaton did the same. 1-1 sinker. Gone. Anthony Rendon, hitless in three at bats at that point, with a 24-game on-base streak on the line, hit an 0-1 sinker out to center field for the fourth consecutive home run off Stammen. 5-1 Nationals.
Davey Martinez talked after what ended up a 5-2 win in the series finale about watching all those balls clear the fence in Petco Park, as the Nationals, according to ESPN’s Stats & Info, became the first team in MLB history to hit four in a row out in multiple games, after they’d done it the first time back on July 27, 2017 against the Milwaukee Brewers in D.C.
“I liked the first one, for sure,” Martinez said, “put us ahead, and then it was, ‘Wow,’ ‘Wow,’ and, ‘Wow.’”
Kendrick started things rolling, connecting for his sixth pinch hit in 16 pinch hit at bats on the season, and the second pinch hit home run of 2019 and his career.
“He comes off the bench and puts us ahead,” Martinez said, “and in that moment everyone was obviously excited, so yeah, you feed off of those kind of things.
“He’s been doing it all year. Wanted to give him a day off today and just use him as a pinch hitter, and you see what he can do when his legs are fresh.”
So were the home runs just a fluke, or stretch of seven bad pitches for a reliever who might get calls from participants in the HR Derby next month? Is there anything the Nationals can take away and learn from the inning?
“I like the at bats,” the second-year manager said.
“Whether you hit a home run or not, they were aggressive, and they put good swings on the ball. We just talked about it. You don’t see that every day, so ... but hey, they came out swinging. We hit the ball pretty good today, I thought. Hit a lot of balls hard. Just that one inning they seemed to go over the fence.”
“f you know how that happens,” Eaton said, after doing his part with the third of the four blasts, “and how you can hit four in a row again, let me know, because we’ll write a book and we’ll be rich.
“No, we talk in Spring Training and throughout the year, just everything is really contagious.
“Winning is contagious. Losing is contagious. Not getting the job done is contagious.
“Getting the job done is contagious. Shutout innings are contagious. And we’re playing pretty good baseball right now.
“After dropping the first two, I love how we come back and like I said, win the first one and then have a scrap-it-out-type game like today.”
“That play is contagious,” Eaton continued, “and when Howie did it, and then Trea comes up and does the same thing and then for me it’s — like I told them, if you could say four home runs [in a row], I would never be in that mix anywhere, the first one, last one, in the middle, anything to keep it going, so like I said, I was happy that I was in there, and then Tony again no surprise as well, so like I said, a pretty cool experience.”
Pretty, pretty, pretty, cool. As was the dancing...