Who would have thought that the Nationals' sure-fire method for getting their offense on track would be to face a team streaking toward its second consecutive playoff berth, match up against one of that team's top starters and pound him out of the game?
It sounds odd, but one thing the Nationals can count on in their ability to beat the Atlanta Braves is how routinely they can beat up on All-Star right-hander Jair Jurrjens. They homered three times against him on Tuesday night, scoring six runs in six innings against Jurrjens, and beat the Braves 9-2 to end a six-game losing streak.
For the fifth consecutive game, the Nationals denied Jurrjens a quality start. He is 0-3 against Washington in his last four games, and though he made it through six innings against the Nationals for the first time since Oct. 3, 2009, he had one of his worst nights in a growing collection of bad performances against them.
Michael Morse got things started with a mammoth home run in the second inning, and by the time Jurrjens left, Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa had taken him deep, too. Laynce Nix added one more homer off Carlos Martinez. Even Livan Hernandez continued his odd run of success against Jurrjens, ripping his first double of the year against him. Hernandez, who pitched seven innings in the win, is 4-for-7 in his career against Jurrjens with two doubles and a homer.
The Nationals have been at a loss for reasons why they match up so well with the Curacao native - and it's not like many teams have had much success against him this year. Jurrjens entered the night with a 13-5 record, having posted a 2.71 ERA and given up just 11 homers in 22 starts.
He's allowed 14 now, and five of those are from Nationals batters. And on Tuesday night, they beat up on Jurrjens at a time where they needed to get back on track.