Sometimes games go exactly as you hope they will. On Saturday, good defense backed up solid pitching, which was supported by early scoring as the Nationals beat the visiting Texas Rangers 10-2.
For the first time in two weeks, the Nat won back-to-back games, and for the first time all year the team scored 8 or more runs in two straight as the offense supported another quality effort by newcomer Doug Fister (3-1). After allowing seven runs, five earned, in his first start of the year, Fister has not allowed more than two in any of the next four, including Saturday’s effort where he surrendered two in six innings while striking out six with four hits.
The Nats jumped all over Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (2-1), scoring five runs in the first two innings. Anthony Rendon started the scoring with a home run in the first, his sixth on the season. Jose Lobaton tacked on two more in the second with a two-run home run, his second, and then another two were added on a Jayson Werth double and Shin-Soo Choo error. After two, the Nats led 5-0.
Going back to Friday’s game, through the second inning, the Nats had scored in seven straight innings, which according to Elias was the first time in club history.
The Nats added three more runs in the fourth on a three-run home run by Adam LaRoche, his seventh of the season, and Scott Hairston added two more in the sixth on a pinch hit home run to left. For Hairston it was his first homer of the season, but it was the fourth time this year that the Nats recorded a pinch-hit home run.
For the second consecutive game, Rendon recorded multiple hits, at one point getting a hit in six straight at bats dating back to Friday. It was also the first time Rendon had multiple hits in two straight since April 8-9. With four hits, it was Rendon’s first time with that many since April 25 against the Padres. Entering Saturday, Rendon was hitting .255/.313/.418, and after today that line moved to .268/.323/.441.
LaRoche also had his second multi-hit game since returning from the DL. He has at least one hit in each he’s played since coming back.
The Nats returned to .500 at 27-27. They are now 4-6 in their last 10.
Tomorrow the Nats look for the sweep with Tanner Roark (3-3) going against Yu Darvish (4-2). If the offense hopes to continue the hot hitting they’ll have their work cut out for them. On the season, Darvish has an ERA of 2.35, a batting average against of .211, and has recorded double-digit strike outs in two of his last three games. Roark has been equally as good with seven quality starts this season and a BAA of .229. At home, Roark has an ERA of 1.60 and a WHIP of 1.01.