SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals figured the best way to end their four-game losing streak was to send Max Scherzer to the mound for today’s series finale at AT&T Park. Turns out the better strategy was sending a lineup featuring several backups and recent call-ups up to the plate against Jeff Samardzija and the Giants bullpen.
Behind an onslaught of two-out hits with runners in scoring position, the Nationals blasted Samardzija and company during a 15-2 victory that, if nothing else, allowed them to head home at the end of a long and mostly frustrating road trip on a positive note.
After taking two of three from the Mets at Citi Field, the Nationals proceeded to go a combined 2-4 during the West Coast portion of this trip, with Scherzer on the mound for the only wins over the Dodgers and Giants.
The ace certainly did his part to help the cause this afternoon, allowing two runs over six strong innings and recording 10 strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season. But the stars of the day were the Nationals who swung the bat with a ferocity rarely seen this month.
With Ryan Zimmerman and Howie Kendrick given the day off from the starting lineup - and with Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy all still on the disabled list - manager Davey Martinez wrote out a lineup card that included Matt Adams batting cleanup, Andrew Stevenson batting sixth and Adrian Sanchez batting seventh.
Then that lineup put together a string of clutch hits to produce a much-needed blowout victory. A staggering 14 runs scored with two outs, several of the big hits additionally coming with two strikes.
Adams produced the biggest blast of the game: a three-run homer to right after the Giants intentionally walked the slumping Bryce Harper in the top of the fourth. Subbing at first base and in the cleanup spot with Zimmerman sitting, Adams also drove in the game’s first run with a two-out single to center in the top of the first and then drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the day with a double in the eighth.
Stevenson was the most unlikely offensive star, going 4-for-5 with a walk, two doubles and four RBIs. He entered the day with 10 career hits in 72 big league plate appearances.
Trea Turner went 5-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs, adding to the wreckage.