Nats pound Mets 25-4 to end long day at end of long July

First, the obvious caveat: What the Nationals did tonight on South Capitol Street has no bearing on what they do Wednesday afternoon on South Capitol Street, or in any other future game in 2018.

We've seen this enough times this season to know there is no such thing as momentum, at least not for this Nationals club.

So just take tonight's events for what they're worth and simply enjoy the fact that a ballclub that has disappointed in so many ways this season and earlier in the day made the somewhat controversial decision to make only one modest July 31 trade - Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs - absolutely destroyed the Mets in a laugher the likes of which are rarely seen on a major league diamond.

The final score: 25-4. The Nats established a new franchise record for runs scored in a game, breaking the previous mark of 23 set last season against ... the Mets. It's the most runs scored by any team in a major league game since the Rangers put up 30 at Camden Yards in 2007, and only the 17th time in modern history a team has reached the 25-run mark.

"I think any team needs games like that," Ryan Zimmerman said. "Those are fun games to be a part of."

It was 7-0 after one inning. It was 10-0 after two innings. It was 19-0 after five innings, with the Nats scoring at least three times in each of those frames, the first time any team has done that since the Rangers in 2011. All nine members of the lineup had at least one hit by the end of the second.

Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer. Tanner Roark hit a three-run double. Zimmerman hit a two-run homer and became the franchise's all-time leader in hits. Matt Adams and Mark Reynolds each homered off José Reyes. (Yes, that José Reyes.)

Oh, and Daniel Murphy was 3-for-3 with two homers and six RBIs. In the game's first three innings.

Murphy-Points-Blue-v-NYM-sidebar.jpg"Just keep grinding out at-bats," the veteran second baseman said. "I say it over and over again, but that's what we did. I think from the first at-bat of the game with Trea (Turner) and all the way through that first inning and through the whole game. Even when José came in and pitched for them, we were still grinding out at-bats. All you can do is control the effort and make the choice to engage in every single pitch. Hopefully, we will continue to do that, and I think we will."

Roark, meanwhile, backed up his dominant start in Milwaukee last week with another one. The right-hander has now allowed one run over his last 15 innings, striking out 18 while walking only one, lowering his ERA from 4.87 to 4.37 in the process.

It was, to be honest, exactly what these guys needed at the end of a long day at the end of a long day off at the end of a long month. It does not solve their still-obvious holes. But it sure felt good for everyone to smile and laugh and enjoy a ballgame like this for the first time in a long time.

"We've been together so long," Roark said. "The guys in the clubhouse, we're like brothers. And that's what makes us competitive and trust in one another. And that's the biggest thing: Trust each other. Trust the guy next to you."

This all happened against a Mets club that is 26 games under .500 since opening the season 11-1, so take it with a full pinch of salt. Then again, the Nationals still have eight more head-to-head games with New York this season, to go along with eight more against the Marlins and 16 total against the Phillies and Braves, the two teams they're trying to track down in the National League East.

Will they take advantage of that schedule to make up the ground, reward the front office for its faith in the current roster and catapult themselves into October once again? It's impossible to know that right now. And it would be foolish to predict anything based solely on tonight's game.

So just enjoy this for what it was. There's nothing wrong with that.

"Just an all-around good day," manager Davey Martinez said. "It's been an emotional day, and it was a good way to end it."

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