Nationals pulling away from Cardinals with timely hitting

For weeks, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has been talking about an inevitable course correction for the team’s offense. Hard-hit balls were going to start falling in for hits, he insisted, and he kept repeating a simple refrain: He’d rather the Nationals keep putting men on base and fail to drive them in than not put them on base at all.

That refrain was built on Riggleman’s belief that things eventually had to turn around. And that might finally be happening.

After going 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position last night, the Nationals are 5-for-9 tonight. They lead the Cardinals 6-0 in the seventh, and only one of their nine hits has left the ballpark. But they’ve had four doubles, with line drives to the outfield finally starting to elude defenders, and they scored a pair of runs with two outs in the fourth inning.

And they continue to do it without much of a contribution from Jayson Werth, who is 0-for-4 tonight and 2-for-14 in the leadoff spot. He’s struck out tonight, reached on an erro, popped up with a man on base and grounded into a double play. But Roger Bernadina has three hits behind him, and with Livan Hernandez working on a two-hitter through seven innings the Nationals are in firm control of this one.