The Washington Nationals used four runs in the first inning to win the series opener against the Minnesota Twins. Here are our takeaways
The Washington Nationals returned home to the Nation’s Capital after going 4-3 on their recent seven game road trip. Right out of the gate, the offense gave Gio Gonzalez something he did not have in the first two games of the season: run support.
In the first inning, the Nats sent all nine batters to the plate against Minnesota Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson and put up four runs in the first, which was more than the three combined runs from Gonzalez’s first two starts. That allowed Gonzalez to throw more strikes and pitch to the scoreboard effectively.
Even though the bullpen did give up a couple runs towards the end of the game, the outcome never seemed to be in doubt, which was impressive when you consider that the Twins offense came into Nats Park having scored 25 runs during their recent four game series against the Milwaukee Brewers (2-2 record).
Plus, the Washington Nationals got some good news with Jayson Werth back in the lineup after leaving Wednesday’s game early and sitting out Thursday because of the tightness in his left hamstring. Due to the Nats getting out to a 8-1 lead after the fifth inning, it allowed manager Dusty Baker to get Werth some more rest. However, Werth showed no ill effects of the hamstring when he took a home run away from Byron Buxton in the third.
On offense, it wasn’t the usual suspects who got all the runs, even though Daniel Murphy kept up his great start to the season with another multi-hit game (2-for-4, one RBI). The bottom three position players in the lineup (Werth, Danny Espinosa, and Jose Lobaton) combined to go 5-for-8 with six RBI’s.
Before Tanner Roark takes on Phil Hughes in the second game of this three game series this afternoon (1:05 p.m ET, MASN), here are my three takeaways from yesterday’s 8-4 win by the Washington Nationals:
Next: Espinosa And Lobaton Shine