LaRoche hoping his hits, team offense will help “spark something”

First baseman Adam LaRoche would be the first to admit the last couple of weeks have not been very much fun for him at the plate. Heading into Thursday’s game against Colorado, LaRoche was batting .156 (5-for-32) in those past 10 games.

Manager Davey Johnson sensed his veteran was scuffling a bit at the plate and gave him Monday’s game at Philadelphia off. He did have a pinch-hit at-bat in that game, but went 0-for-1.

Now, in his last three starts, he has six hits. Thursday was the best of the week. LaRoche went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs and a run scored in the Nationals’ 5-1 victory over the Rockies.

After striking out in his first at-bat against veteran Roy Oswalt, LaRoche connected on a single and a triple. He also almost got credit for a stolen base.

“I about had a (stolen) bag and triple in the same game,” LaRoche said. “I have never done that in the same month. That would have been something.”

LaRoche knew after that first at-bat it could be a difficult night against Oswalt.

“I tell you what Roy looked as good tonight as he did 10 years ago when I faced him in the playoffs,” LaRoche said. “He had some really good stuff.”

But the offense did a nice job of hanging in there against Oswalt, who had his fifth career game of at least 11 strikeouts. They did not hang their heads with Oswalt baffling them in first few frames. But in those 13 at-bats that the Nationals put the ball in play early against Oswalt, they managed four runs.

“It is not a change of approach at the plate,” LaRoche said. “Guys do what they do. We have been playing long enough it is tough to change what works for you. We just had a bad stretch of luck and had guys just not going. I think we continue to do it and it is going to show up. It didn’t, it didn’t. We are waiting it out forever. We know with this group eventually it will. I can’t say we as a team changed something, maybe it will just start rolling are way a little bit.”

And with it, the Nationals have won two in a row and are back at the .500 mark. The Braves lost, so is it time to exhale a bit? LaRoche likes what he has seen, but he knows it is just one game. A 6-2 win over the Phillies and 5-1 win over the Rockies arrived after losing five of their previous eight on the road trip.

“Yesterday was big, (on a) frustrating road trip, but a great way to end it,” he said. “To keep it going tonight, we are hoping this will spark something.”

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