PHILADELPHIA - I’m guessing that Michael Morse’s injured hand and wrist are feeling just fine tonight.
Morse already has two home runs and four RBIs through three at-bats, helping the Nationals to a 6-3 lead over the Phillies.
The first Morse home run was in the air for about 78 years before finally coming down just barely over the left field fence. It was an absolute rainmaker, giving Morse his 15th homer of the season.
The second Morse longball was just demolished out to center. Morse took a 2-1 changeup from Tyler Cloyd and crushed it way out into the Nationals’ bullpen, which has to be a good 450 feet away from home plate.
The homer itself was something to behold. The way in which it landed in the Washington ‘pen was something else.
As the ball came down, Tom Gorzelanny reached out with his hat and plucked it out of the air, setting off his fellow relievers, who started jumping up and down and giving Gorzelanny fist pounds and pats on the back.
Morse has been limited by the left wrist and right hand injuries much of the last couple months. Tonight, he appears just fine. He now has his second multi-homer game of the season and the fifth of his career.
Bryce Harper got the Nats on the board with his second first-inning home run in as many nights, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead. Gio Gonzalez gave it right back after a really rough first frame, in which he walked three and allowed three runs.
Gonzalez has settled down since then, and finds himself on the verge of yet another quality start.
Thanks to Morse and Harper, who have combined for all six Nationals RBIs, he could earn win No. 21 tonight.
Update: What a job by Gonzalez, keeping his focus and finding a way to get through six strong innings after a nearly disastrous start.
The lefty held the Phillies scoreless over his final five innings of work, and in total allowed three tuns on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
The Nationals have given the bullpen an extra run to work with, and they lead 7-3 in the seventh.
Update II: The Nationals tied their franchise record for wins in a season at 95 and cut their magic number to three with a 7-3 win over the Phillies.
Atlanta just keeps on winning (they finished off a sweep of the Marlins with a 6-2 win tonight), but the Nats got back on track these last two days.
Gonzalez also reclaims sole possession of the major league wins lead with 21 victories on the season. All around, not a bad night for the guys in the visitors’ dugout.