Heading into the eighth inning, the Nationals look to be in firm control of their game against the Dodgers. And the way they've done it has brought a couple encouraging signs about the offense.
First, Michael Morse took Hiroki Kuroda deep for the second time today, hitting a line drive to left on a 3-2 pitch at the end of an eight-pitch at-bat. Kuroda threw Morse a low curveball, and Morse managed to reach out and pull it. It was a tremendous swing at the end of a long at-bat, and it gave Morse his second multi-homer game this year, as well as his fifth homer in his last seven games.
And in the seventh inning, Ian Desmond got his second hit of the day, scoring from first on a Rick Ankiel double to the left field corner. Desmond, like we said earlier today, continues to look more comfortable leading off; he's hitting .309 in 19 games since moving back into that role. And both of Ankiel's hits today have come after Desmond has gotten his hits. It's a rare day where the Nationals are getting that kind of production at the top of the lineup, but with Desmond getting hot in the leadoff spot, they're halfway there.
It's 6-1 Nationals in the eighth inning, with Tyler Clippard trying to shut the Dodgers down.