Could LaRoche's power display be precursor to offensive burst? (with pitching note)

It was a changeup. All he was trying to do was get the ball in the air to get the runner home from third.

The results were quite different.

First baseman Adam LaRoche's three-run shot lifted the Nationals to a 5-0 advantage early versus the Diamondbacks last night. That kind of rush of offense, and runs for Gio Gonzalez, had been rare so far this season.

LaRoche said the fact that he was able to really crank it was a welcome change from his recent at-bats.

"I am starting to feel better," LaRoche said. "I got some hits last week, but not really driving the ball."

Right fielder Jayson Werth had a good game as well, going 2-for-2 and two walks. Anthony Rendon continues to drive the ball. Even without Ryan Zimmerman for one night, the offense clicked.

"As a team I think we are looking better," LaRoche said. "Ten or 11 hits tonight, and score some runs, slowly getting closer to what this offense can do."

LaRoche said the Nationals can learn from holding off an Arizona comeback Tuesday, something they have not been able to do during some rough patches this season when they could muster only three or four runs per game. The Nationals led 6-0 and 6-4, then held on for a 7-5 win.

"We haven't jumped off with five or six runs, but we have jumped out with a couple of runs early and shut it down for five or six innings, and got ourselves in trouble," LaRoche pointed out. "We are saying (to) keep pouring it on. How many runs we get early going into the next inning like it is a tie ball game and keep scoring.

"I think we continue to push like that and not worry about what is down the road, (like) what our record is and start thinking about what we can do tonight. Regardless the outcome, (we need to still) come back the next day and hammer away."

Tuesday's three-run shot was LaRoche's first homer since May 28. He had seven home runs in May and three in April. Could this be a sign that LaRoche will get on a power streak? LaRoche said it has happened before.

"Today, I felt better," LaRoche said. "I felt the timing was a little better, I felt like getting the barrel to the ball was easier than it has been. Build off of that. When I hit home runs they come in bursts, (so) nothing unusual to have some droughts there."

Minor league note: The promotion of right-handed starting pitcher Taylor Hill from high Single-A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg demonstrates that team's need for another starter in the rotation.

It would appear that also points to right-hander Taylor Jordan getting the call-up to the Nationals for Saturday in New York against the Mets. The other move was Paul Demny being placed on the temporary inactive list and Brian Broderick transferred to Potomac.

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