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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the series finale with the Houston Astros

Davey Martinez and Co. go for a series win after splitting the first two with the Astros in Nationals Park.

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Assessing the Washington Nationals’ offensive issues after they connected for eight hits, all singles, and went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base in a 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday, Davey Martinez said his club was hitting the ball, yes, but it wasn’t the sort of contact he wanted to see.

“We’re hitting the ball really good, and we’re still getting hits, but we’re not impacting the baseball, so we need to do better with that,” the fifth-year manager explained.

“I thought we had good at-bats,” he said.

“We hit some balls good, we just couldn’t collectively hit balls in a row, you know, where we could do something.”

“We got to get back to grouping up a bunch of hits. That’s what we need.”

They strung hits together and hit for power, impacting the ball on several occasions as the Nats beat the Astros 13-7 in the second of three in D.C. last night, with doubles by Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz, and Maikel Franco, and home runs by Yadiel Hernández and Franco as they put 13 runs up on 14 hits in the second game with the ‘Stros in Nationals Park.

Cruz, who went into the 2nd of 3 with hits in 6 of 7, going 8 for 25 (.320/.393/.560) in that stretch, with two home runs, three walks, and six Ks in 28 plate appearances, went 3 for 4 with the three-run double and a walk in the win on Saturday.

“We talked about Nellie, I thought Nellie has been swinging the bat a lot better. He hit the ball hard all night tonight. So that’s good to see,” Martinez said after the win.

And that base-clearing double? It came off of Cruz’s bat and 113.8 MPH and hit the out-of-town scoreboard in right ... hard.

“That ball was hit really, really hard. I thought he knocked the wall down, but it was hit hard,” Martinez told reporters.

“And like I said, when he starts driving the ball like that to right-center field, good things are going to happen.”

Will the Nationals’ offense keep rolling in the series finale? Justin Verlander is on the mound for the Astros this afternoon. Will the Nats be able to take 2 of 3 from the Astros in D.C.?