A week’s worth of frustration is all spilling out in the early innings tonight.
The Nationals have put up six runs through the first three innings against the Reds, and they have a 6-0 lead.
Jayson Werth said yesterday that the Nats had been neither lucky nor good during their recent slide. Tonight, they’ve been both.
The Nats have seven hits, three for extra bases. Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa both homered in a four-run third inning, with Espinosa’s shot plating Adam LaRoche, who had reached on a Joey Votto throwing error.
LaRoche hit a tailor-made 3-6-3 double play ball to Votto, but the Reds first baseman hit Jayson Werth on his throw to second base, and both runners moved into scoring position on the error. Both Werth and LaRoche came around to score in the inning.
Espinosa, meanwhile, seems to be enjoying the heck out of his 26th birthday. He doubled to the wall in right-center in the second inning, bringing in a run, and then crunched a two-run homer to right in the third.
The embattled second baseman now has three RBIs tonight. That’s as many as he had in his previous 17 games this season combined.
The Nats kept saying that when the hits and runs came, they’d come in bunches. They sure have so far tonight.
Oh, yeah, and Gio Gonzalez has retired all nine batters he’s faced tonight, with four strikeouts.
No big deal.
Update: The first batter to reach base on Gonzalez tonight was Votto, and he wasn’t on the bases that long.
Votto hit a solo homer to left with two outs in the fourth, making it a 6-1 game.
Update II: In his previous two outings coming into tonight, Gonzalez hadn’t looked much like the pitcher we saw dominate hitters and pound the strike zone last season.
Gonzalez had allowed 12 runs on 12 hits with seven walks and eight strikeouts in his last nine innings entering tonight’s start. Manager Davey Johnson said he thought Gonzalez was trying to do too much, that his left-hander was picking at the strike zone and trying to make the perfect pitch.
Tonight, Gonzalez has been on the attack. He’s allowed just one hit and a walk through six innings, striking out five. Gonzalez has thrown 87 pitches so far, 62 of which have been strikes.
That’s more what the Nats want to see. They want Gonzalez firing first-pitch strikes, going after guys and trusting his defense.
The Nats have a 6-1 lead through six innings.
Update III: The Nats are just piling on now. Denard Span’s two-run triple in the eighth marks the 12th hit of the game for the home team and has given them an 8-1 lead.
Span has three hits on the night. This is his first three-hit game of the season.
Rafael Soriano is on to put the finishing touches on this one. Soriano hasn’t seen any game action since Saturday, which is the last time the Nats recorded a win.
Update IV: That’ll do it. The Nats end their four-game losing streak and move back to .500 with an 8-1 win over the Reds.
Gonzalez was fantastic, and the offense finally came to play. This one has to feel good for the guys in that clubhouse.