Nats provide Ross with big support again in 11-4 win over Mets

Nobody brings out the best from the Nationals lineup like Joe Ross. Even though he doesn’t throw a single pitch to any of its members.

With Ross on the mound, the Nationals seem to turn what already is one of the most potent offensive groups in the majors into something otherworldy. And it happened again today, even with Dusty Baker sitting a bunch of his regulars for the early Independence Day game on South Capitol Street.

joe-ross-white-pitching.jpgA lineup anchored around Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and lesser names pounded the Mets pitching staff, then rode Ross’ seven strong innings to an 11-4 victory before a festive holiday crowd of 37,120.

The 11:05 a.m. start - a local tradition that began five years ago - prompted Baker to sit healthy starters Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters, but his backups more than adequately filled in with a big offensive showing.

Murphy drove in five of the runs himself with four hits, the latest in his ever-growing string of big hits against his former team. Harper added two RBIs, three hits and a walk. And Ryan Raburn delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth before departing in favor of Brian Goodwin.

Michael A. Taylor and Wilmer Difo set the table, reaching base a combined five times via three singles (one on a bunt) and two walks.

All of that helped Ross pitch with a lead yet again during his charmed season. Entering the day, the Nationals were scoring an average of 10.3 runs every time Ross started a game, more than twice the major league median. That number actually will go up a tiny bit after today’s 11-run barrage.

Ross wasn’t necessarily dominant - he retired the side only once, allowed 11 total batters to reach base, two via solo homers - but he made pitches when he needed to and continued his recent upswing.

Over his last six starts, Ross now has a 2.95 ERA, lowering his season ERA from 7.34 to 4.86.

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