Lipscomb bounces back in big way during Nats' win

SAN FRANCISCO – It’s the difference between a rookie that starts his career on a high note but then fades away with time and one who proves he can sustain success over the long haul, learning and adapting along the way.

It’s still far too soon which category Trey Lipscomb will fall into, but there’s no doubt the Nationals rookie infielder wants to prove he can be the type of player who adapts and grows and thus maintains success long-term.

“I think that’s the fun part about baseball: The adjustments you have to make day by day,” he said. “Not every day you’re going to get three hits. Some days you might go 0-for-3, 0-for-4. But come back to the ballpark, and the guys around this clubhouse make you feel like you’re going to go out there and get three hits every game. I think that’s the thing I’ve been going through, and I feel good.”

Lipscomb said this late Monday night after his latest notable performance in the big leagues, this one coming on the heels of his first mini-slump.

The 23-year-old took the Nats by storm his first three days with the club, going 5-for-11 with a homer and a walk. Then came the inevitable downturn, which in his case looked like a 1-for-18, five-strikeout funk over the next five days.

Lipscomb showed Monday night during the Nationals’ 8-1 victory over the Giants he could bounce back from a rough patch. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored and three stolen bases.

What was the difference in this one, compared to his previous five games?

“With him, it’s about staying in the middle of the field,” manager Davey Martinez said. “He got a little pull-happy there for a few days. We got him back in the middle of the field. And he had a really good day today, all the way around.”

Lipscomb’s three singles were nice. But his three steals completed the performance, and one of them was particularly notable.

After delivering his RBI single in the top of the second, Lipscomb successfully stole second base off San Francisco starter Blake Snell. He moved to third on Luis García Jr.’s infield single, putting runners on the corners with one out.

Then García broke from first and drew a throw, buying just enough time for Lipscomb to make a mad dash for the plate. The eventual throw did beat him, but he managed to slither his way around catcher Patrick Bailey’s tag and score the Nationals’ third run of the inning.

“I mean, both of them felt good,” Lipscomb said when asked what he was more pleased with in this game: His three hits or his three steals. “But I think when I stole home. Because that’s something I haven’t done in a while. That one felt good.”

With his three swiped bags, Lipscomb became only the second Nats rookie with three steals in a single game. The previous, surprisingly, was Juan Soto, who stole three bases Sept. 15, 2018 against the Braves.

Lipscomb also is the first rookie in club history with a three-hit, three-steal game. The only players of any age to do it for the Nationals are CJ Abrams, Lane Thomas, Michael A. Taylor, Trea Turner, Ben Revere and Denard Span.

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