VIERA, Fla. - Jayson Werth hadn’t yet checked his truck, so he couldn’t confirm the rumor.
Regardless, he didn’t seem to care one way or the other.
According to members of the Space Coast Stadium grounds crew, Werth’s first inning home run - an absolute laser to left - didn’t just do damage to Mets starter Matt Harvey’s spring ERA, it also did some damage to Werth’s pickup truck.
Werth crushed a Harvey pitch so far over the left-field wall that it came down over a patio area and near where some players’ cars are parked. It marked Werth’s third home run of spring, and whether or not it left a mark on the right fielder’s ride, it was in some ways symbolic of the Nationals breaking out of a lengthy offensive slump.
“I’ve got to go out there and check it out,” Werth said after the game. “If it’s dented or smashed or cracked, shattered, I kind of foresee it staying that way for a while.”
Werth’s homer was just one of three longballs hit out by the Nats in a five-run first inning this afternoon. They followed up that big inning with multi-run frames in the second and third, and by the time this afternoon’s game was 90 minutes old, the Nats already led the Mets 10-0.
It served as a sharp contrast to the previous five games, in which the Nats had scored a total of six runs, and also gave manager Davey Johnson’s group their first win in their last 12 contests.
“I think, to a man, we were tired of getting whooped up on,” manager Davey Johnson said. “They were kind of tired of this ass-whooping we’ve been getting.”
The top of Johnson’s lineup today was as close as it could get to an opening day look, given the injuries to Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. And the first four to bat today for the Nats put on a show.
Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Werth each had an extra-base hit in the first inning and combined to go 10-for-22 with two home runs (Desmond’s lead-off homer in the first preceded Werth’s blast), four RBIs and eight runs scored overall.
As a team, the Nats smacked 17 hits and left a couple Mets hurlers leaving Viera with ugly stat lines.
“I think we had a little extra giddyup today when we came out to play,” Werth said. “Our lineup for the most part was in there. We have a good time playing with each other and good chemistry, so I think we had a little extra hop in our step. We wanted to win today and get skipper of the schneid, so to speak.”
Some guys in the Nats clubhouse agreed with Johnson’s assessment that they were sick of all the spring losses. Some disagreed. Some were more-or-less indifferent. (“It’s better to win meaningless games than lose meaningless games,” Zimmerman said.)
But the general consensus was that regardless of the result, it was important to finally see the bats show up in the fashion they did.
“It showed today what can happen when our full lineup is in there,” Espinosa said. “It just showed what this team’s capable of.”