Recently, the Nationals have been on an absolute home run tear. In the team’s most recent series in Seattle, the Nats hit ten homers while winning two of three games. That trend continued in the team’s opener in Los Angeles Monday night. The Nationals used four home runs, including two by Denard Span, to dispatch the Dodgers 6-4. The team now has hit 14 homers over its last four games.
The game started off on a good note for the Nats against Roberto Hernandez (L, 8-10), a sinkerballer who had fired eight strong innings against the Nats in early August while a member of the Phillies. This game didn’t go nearly as well for the man formerly known as Fausto Carmona, and the damage started early. Jayson Werth, who has been on an absolute tear since the end of June, opened the game up by blasting a monster solo home run to center field with two outs in the first inning for a 1-0 Washington lead. The blast was his 16th of the season.
Matt Kemp got that run back and more not much later into the game. Kemp blasted a mammoth two run homer to right center off of Gio Gonzalez (W, 7-9) to give LA a one run lead after one inning, but Gio would settle down and allow not much else. He would retire 17 of the next 18 batters he faced.
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The Nats gave Gio the lead back in the third inning. Asdrubal Cabrera went deep to the opposite field to tie the game off of Hernandez, and an out later, Denard Span snuck one of his own just over the right center field wall to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. In the fifth inning, Span went deep again, hitting a high fly ball deep into the right field bleachers to triple the margin. Despite not being known as a power threat (31 career homers in 7 seasons) the two run blast was Span’s second of the game and his third in the last four games. He now has two career multi home run games.
The Nats would tack on their final run in the seventh, when Gio Gonzalez would score on a double by Anthony Rendon. Gio had doubled himself to get on base.
The ninth inning would provide a bit of a scare for Nationals fans. Rafael Soriano allowed a run to bring the game to 6-4, and with two outs and two men on, top prospect Joc Pederson strode to the plate representing the potential winning run. Pederson, who has 33 homers this year between AA and AAA, struck out to end the game. With the win, the Nationals stay up seven games on the Braves in the divison.