BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Nationals' clubhouse was loose and relaxed. Guys were chatting up each other, playing cards and some joked around. Hardly the feeling you think you would find from a team that just lost two games in New York without plating a run.
Yes, this was before Friday night's offensive explosion at Baltimore. The Nationals scored 17 runs and pounded out 19 hits, including six homers and a pair of triples.
Nationals third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. said the guys were relaxed because they have the confidence they can hit.
"New York was rainy, we had an off day," Hairston said. "We weren't having any fun. Last night, the conditions were perfect for hitting. We just talked about taking the attitude we have in clubhouse out to our play on the field."
Hairston said the offense knows the basics of what it needs to do at the plate to be successful. The Nationals just need to keep working on those fundamentals. Hairston said it is all about rhythm and timing. But he also knows Friday was just one game.
"We are not making excuses," Hairston said. "We know (Ryan) Zimmerman is hurt. But we have a balanced lineup and a team that picks each other up."
You can see if Zimmerman were healthy and Adam LaRoche was in mid-season form, they might have something offensively. Hairston has seen LaRoche when he is locked in.
"LaRoche can flat out carry a ball club," Hairston said. "I have seen him do it. I have been on opposing teams and seen him do it."
But it is an interesting note how much the lower half of the order contributed to the win Friday. LaRoche scored two runs on a pair of walks. Hitters No. 6 through No. 9 combined for 11 runs and nine RBIs in defeating the Orioles. Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa, two of the rising young stars for the Nationals, combined for six hits, eight runs, two triples, two homers and seven RBIs.