Stuck in a scoreless game with the Pirates at PNC Park, the Nationals hung five runs on Pittsburgh in the fourth inning, getting some help from the Pirates in the form of the routine mistakes the Nationals have made at times this year.
Chris Snyder dropped a routine throw at home plate that allowed Ivan Rodriguez to advance to second after he drove in two runners, Lastings Milledge misplayed a ball off the wall and Pedro Alvarez made his 12th error of the season. That, combined with the Nationals' thrashing of Paul Maholm for eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, has them up 7-0 in the fifth inning.
Every starter but John Lannan has been on base, and every one but Lannan and Justin Maxwell has a hit. And Lannan has again been sharp, allowing two hits in four innings.
It's been an impressive stretch for the Nationals' offense, which has scored 55 runs in its last eight games despite playing with spare parts in a few spots. But as we've talked about, this is a chance for Ian Desmond, Michael Morse and Roger Bernadina to prove they belong in the lineup every day next year, and all three are producing. Danny Espinosa also has an RBI tonight. The players that have something to prove this month, so far, are doing it.