It’s the third straight night Taylor has flexed his muscles with a titanic blast, beginning with Thursday’s monstrous 493 foot moonshot at Coors Field. When asked what it meant to own the majors’ longest home run this season after the Nats’ loss that night, Taylor simply told reporters, “Nothing.”
Like tonight’s roundtripper, eight of Taylor’s 13 homers have either tied the game or given the Nats the lead. The rookie continues to show up in the clutch, batting .350 with two homers and 39 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season.
“He’s been great for us in RBI situations this year,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’ll get opportunities down there in that regard. Another good swing ... it’s telling that he hit the homer the other way to right-center field. That means he’s on the baseball. If he’s stays on the ball, then it’s powerful.”
Taylor’s 55 RBIs trail only Bryce Harper’s 74 on the Nationals. After making his major league debut and playing 17 games last season, it was unknown exactly how much time Taylor would spend with the Nationals this year. But injuries to Jayson Werth and Denard Span thrusted Taylor into the spotlight sooner than expected and he’s performed.
“The defense obviously speaks for itself,” Werth said. “He’s a young kid. He’s learning the game at the big league level. He’s coming along. He’s come a long way in a short period of time. I think he proved to everybody last year that he could hit for power, put up some good numbers in the minor leagues. Doesn’t always transfer to the big leagues, but more times than not, if you’re putting up those type of power numbers, you’ve kind of proven to everybody that you can hit for power.
“So when he comes up here and after he gets settled in a little bit and then you see the power that he’s producing lately, it kind of points to him being a pretty steady big league hitter.”
Taylor, whose strikeouts still come at an alarming rate, has worked all season on shortening his swing. The results have paid off as his tater tonight left him one game shy of tying the Nationals record of homering in four consecutive games.
“Mentally, I’m just trying to tone things down a little bit at the plate,” Taylor said. “Just trying to be a little more consistent making contact instead of trying to crush things. Just try to stay quiet, don’t let things speed up. Just go up there and have a good at-bat instead of trying to look for results.”
Fellow rookie right-hander Joe Ross only needed Taylor’s homer as he limited the Brewers to just one run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks over seven innings.
The Nats broke the game open with a three-run fourth inning keyed by RBI doubles from Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon. Rendon also added a solo home run in the seventh and finished the game off with a spectacular diving grab of a blistered liner off the bat of Jean Segura.
Jordan Zimmermann will attempt to take the series for the Nats in Sunday’s finale.