The umpires might have hit a traffic jam on their way to the stadium this afternoon, causing a 16-minute delay, but there are plenty of guys in the Nationals clubhouse who can relate.
Ian Desmond is one of them.
“I’ve got no problem with it. I’ve been stuck in traffic many a time here in D.C.,” Desmond said. “I’m surprised they got here as fast as they did. It’s always an adventure.”
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd had a bit of an adventure in the middle innings tonight. After putting up three straight scoreless frames to start his outing, Floyd gave up two runs in the fourth, one more in the fifth and two in the sixth before getting pulled after 5 1/3 innings.
Ian Desmond did the bulk of the damage, smacking three extra-base hits - a double in the second, another double in the fourth and a triple off the left-center field wall in the sixth - and scoring twice.
“It starts with Jordan (Zimmermann),” said Desmond, quick to credit his pitcher for his own success. “He was working quick. Getting quick outs, getting us back in the dugout. The other guys around me were hitting, too. It wasn’t like I was the only one. Hitting barrels is contagious and a lot of guys are feeling good right now. ...
“(Zimmermann) was the biggest thing for me tonight. Everything was like (snaps his fingers a few times). I was back up, I was back up, I was back up. That keeps me more locked in than standing out there thinking about the things I’m doing and then having to come back in and try to do the things I was just thinking of on the field on defense.”
The Nats tallied five extra-base hits overall, even with the top five hitters in their lineup only contributing one of the five knocks.
“They’ve got some good pitching over there,” Desmond said. “But I think our guys are giving good at-bats and we’re getting to see the pitches that he’s going to use. I think with our lineup, the way it is - left-right, left-right - the lefties get to see the gameplan against lefties and the righties get to see the gameplan against righties so it’s not like you have a couple lefties running up there and then you’re the first right-handed hitter going up there and you don’t know what to expect.”
Desmond was asked whether he can remember seeing Bryce Harper strike a ball better than the one he did in the fourth that landed in the second deck in right field, an estimated 420 feet away.
“He hits the ball a long way, that’s for sure,” Desmond said. “Probably one of the longer ones I’ve seen him hit. I don’t even know if he got it on the barrel.”
Harper went 2-for-4 today, raising his average to .394. The homer in the fourth inning was his fourth of the season.
“It felt good,” he said. “I just got a good pitch in that situation to put a barrel on and get us going. I think that’s the biggest thing, just to get up there and get something that can get our team going.”
Harper added a broken-bat single in the fifth, a base knock that somehow was still hit on a line and skidded sharply up the middle despite the fact that Harper was left with just the handle of his bat in his hands as he scampered down the first base line.
Seven of the Nats’ eight position players had hits tonight, and the eighth, catcher Kurt Suzuki, walked three times.
“Desi had a huge night,” Harper said. “Espi (Danny Espinosa) came up big for us tonight. Denard (Span). There’s a lot of guys who had good ABs and really came up big for us tonight.”