If you have a crippling addiction to watching runs being scored, you probably aren’t a Nationals fan. Regardless of your fandom, you should seek psychological help. However, if you are a shameless addict, the Nationals were able to get you your fix tonight. They hammered Kevin Gausman and the Orioles early and often, giving themselves a 79.5% chance of winning by the end of the first inning. Nate Karns held his own in his debut but hardly needed to, given that he left the gave with a 7-3 lead. The Nationals would end up scoring nine runs on 13 hits, marking the fifth straight game in which the team has recorded at least eight hits. The offense is back, folks, and it is glorious.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Tyler Moore‘s two-run home run (+22.4%)
This hit actually edged out Adam LaRoche‘s first-inning home run by +0.1%. After the Orioles tied the game in the fourth inning at three, the Nationals distanced themselves for good in the bottom of the frame. LaRoche was walked, and Moore sent him home with a towering blast to the visiting bullpen one out later. Moore now has hits in five straight games, and is heating up like the rest of the offense.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: J.J. Hardy‘s game-tying home run (-13.6%)
The Nationals led 3-0 after the first inning, but the Orioles’ offense would not be so easily suppressed. They struck back for one in the second, and solo homers in the top of the fourth brought them even. Hardy’s was the second of those two, flying into the Baltimore bullpen off of Karns to the great joy of the visiting Baltimore fans. A testament to the Orioles’ offensive flexibility and depth: Hardy hit third on Monday, and seventh on Tuesday.
Champ of the Game: LaRoche (+26.6%) had his third multi-homer game of the season, going 2-3 with a walk, three runs scored, and four RBI. Most influential was his first-inning three-run homer. Hardy (+21.2%) assumed this mantle for the Orioles, going 3-4 including his homer.
Chump of the Game: Karns (-20.0%) struggled by traditional evaluation, allowing three runs in 4.1 innings, but that is certainly a success for a pitcher who was getting lit up in AA a week ago. Contrast him with Gausman (-58.8%), who allowed seven runs in four innings and failed to strike out a batter in his second major league start since being promoted from AA a week ago.