When Adam LaRoche crossed the plate with the Nationals’ seventh run yesterday, those in the visiting dugout at Petco Park must not have known how to react.
First of all, their seven runs scored matched their season high. Compared to the Nats’ previous five wins (in which they scored a combined 12 runs), yesterday seemed like an absolute offensive explosion.
Secondly, they’d actually gotten starter Jordan Zimmermann some run support. Accustomed to pitching in games in which his offense fails to leave the clubhouse (since 2010, Zimmermann has gotten either zero or one run of support in 16 of his 37 outings) Zimmermann could actually breathe easy yesterday and coast to a win.
Finally, the Nats’ five-run win was their largest margin of victory all season. Entering yesterday’s game, the Nats’ first 16 games had been decided by an average of 2.2 runs per game.
Yesterday must’ve felt like a vacation in the late innings. The Nationals could kick back, put their feet up, grab some Gatorade and enjoy the final three innings of a game which, by their standards, was quite a blowout. The bullpen could go a day without having to work two or three pressure-packed innings, manager Davey Johnson could take a deep breath for seemingly the first time all season and Gio Gonzalez wasn’t left as the only guy in the dugout with a smile on his face.
It was nice to see the offense come alive yesterday, with at least one RBI being delivered by each of the 4-7 hitters in the Nationals’ lineup.
Even lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny, who found himself in the three hole in the Nats’ order after coming into the game as part of a double switch, brought in a run with a seventh inning base hit.
Who needs Ryan Zimmerman?
Meanwhile, it actually turns out the Nats weren’t the only team within the organization to have an offensive explosion yesterday.
Down on the farm, Single-A Hagerstown scored a whopping 24 runs in a win over the Rome Braves.
Right fielder Steven Souza went 4-for-6 with a triple, home run and - get this - nine RBIs, one short of tying the South Atlantic League record for most runs driven in during a single game.
Designated hitter Jason Martinson had a measly five RBIs, and as a whole, the Suns drew 14 walks against Rome pitching.
Hagerstown has now scored 59 runs over its last four games.
Double-A Harrisburg only managed eight runs in a shutout win over Altoona, in a game which saw Senators starter Danny Rosenbaum pitch seven more scoreless innings, lowering his league-best ERA to 0.94.