Denard Span, homerless in the first 104 games of the season, now has two longballs in as many days.
Watch out Chris Davis.
“Yeah, just another day at the ballpark,” Span said, tongue planted firmly in his cheek. “I told you yesterday I might hit 30, and like you said, I’m on pace to do that, if I can just keep it up. So any more questions?”
Nope, that about covers it on the homer front.
Span has excelled since moving down to the No. 7 spot in the order, putting up five hits in that spot over the last two days. Yesterday, perhaps feeling freed up to swing early in the count because he’s no longer hitting leadoff, Span saw just four pitches in three at-bats. Today, he wasn’t quite that aggressive (he had three hits with two strikes), but Johnson feels Span is attacking the ball more, getting out in front of it instead of letting the ball travel deeper, which he feels was causing Span to roll over on a lot of pitches.
“I am feeling comfortable, to answer that question,” Span said. “But I’ve been working in the cage a little bit with (hitting coach Rick Schu) and (first base coach) Tony Tarasco, so just feeling good right now.”
Wilson Ramos had the ball from his first career grand slam sitting in his locker after the game, a ball he said he was going to give to his mother. Ramos crushed a fastball from Carlos Torres into the Mets bullpen in left field in the third inning, a blast that gave the Nats an 8-0 lead.
“That’s a great game for the team. I was waiting for that,” Ramos said. “All the bats wake up. So today, that’s an example of what we can do. I’m happy for my team for this day, especially for me, my first grand slam of my career. So I’m happy for that. And also a great job for Taylor Jordan, he threw pretty good today. So I’m very excited for this day.
“(On the homer), I was waiting for something in the zone, waiting for a good pitch. I tried to make good contact. I was not looking for a homer, but it happened. That’s good for me. I was waiting for something up in the zone to try to get the runners in.”
The Nats set season highs in both runs scored (14) and hits (18) today.
“That’s what we have to do every day,” Ramos said. “When the pitcher’s throwing good, we have to respond with the bats like we did today. Hopefully, we will do it for the rest of the season.
“I know we lost a couple games in a row, and now we’ve won a couple games in a row, too. But that’s good for the team. We feel good, we feel happy in here, in the dugout, too. That’s the team I want to see.”
The Nationals have now followed an 0-6 start to the second half of the season by going 4-1 in their last five. They lost 11-0 two days ago and won 14-1 today. Weird stuff, right?
“That’s kinda just how baseball works,” said Ryan Zimmerman, who had three hits today. “Last year was one of those years where we were so consistent and we didn’t really have too many bad times. I think a lot of people got spoiled with that and expect it to be that way every year. As much as I want it to be that way every year, it’s not going to be that way every year. Very rarely, three or four teams a year do that. It’s tough to do.
“The way we started the second half is obviously not the way we wanted to, but we fought back and gotta keep going.”
The Nats finally finished off their longest homestand of the season, having played 11 games in 10 days. They’ll now get a breather tomorrow and then head to face the Tigers for two games starting Tuesday.
“I am very exhausted,” Span said. “We played like, what, five games in 60 hours or something like that, so just ready for a break. We have a day off and we’ll be ready to go in Detroit.”