Robles and Turner help ignite offense in 10-2 rout of Red Sox

The Nationals offense stepped up early and kept the pressure on the Red Sox all night in a 10-2 runaway win to open their weekend series at Fenway Park.

Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick and Josh Harrison hit home runs, part of eight extra base hits in the 16-hit attack. Trea Turner went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Victor Robles went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.

Three times in the game, No. 9 hitter Robles contributed a base hit in front of Turner that helped score a run or two, supporting Max Scherzer's third win of the season.

Robles-Runs-Blue-Sidebar.jpgTurner said Robles collecting three hits in front of him put pressure on the Red Sox pitchers because they knew Soto was looming in the two-hole in manager Davey Martinez's reconfigured lineup.

"Yeah, I think it's huge, especially with Juan being so hot and only one more batter behind. If he's hitting third or fourth, then it's a little different," Turner said in a postgame Zoom video call. "I think just turning the lineup over in general is really important and it just felt like the rally was always going with him getting those hits.

"I think it's just more quality at-bats. When he can get two, three hits in a game and that's your nine-hole hitter, I think that's huge for us. That's a big reason why we put up so many runs tonight is because he had such a good game for us."

The Nats went quietly in the first two frames against the Red Sox left-hander Martín Pérez.

But in the third inning, the power bats came alive. Highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Soto and Kendrick, the Nats scored five runs on six hits to take control of the game early on and give a lot of room for Scherzer to do his thing.

Harrison singled off of Pérez to start the frame. After a fielder's choice, Robles and Turner connected on back-to-back doubles to push the Nats ahead 2-0.

Then Soto connected on a two-run shot off a 3-0 changeup, sending the ball high over the Green Monster in left field and the Nats led, 4-0. It was Soto's ninth home of the season.

For the first time this season, the Nats had back-to-back homers as Kendrick added a solo shot next to make it 5-0.

The Nats got crafty in the fourth inning to score another run. With Robles on third and Turner and first and two outs, Turner attempted to steal second. That got Red sox catcher Christian Vázquez's attention and as he threw to second base, Turner retreated to first base and was tagged out - but not before Robles raced home from third base to score as the Nats extended their lead to 6-1.

Then in the sixth inning, Michael A. Taylor's infield single scored Kurt Suzuki from third and the Nats' advantage grew to 7-1. Harrison launched a two-run shot over the center field wall to pad the lead in the eighth, making it 9-1.

Harrison said it was important for the Nats to tack on runs late in the game after the initial five-run outburst in the third.

"This game is crazy, anything can happen," Harrison said. "One thing as hitters, we always talk about not giving away at-bats. Sometimes it can get hard in a game that might look like it's a little out of hand, but at the same time you got to find a way to have that same focus. Anything can happen, guys can put up nine runs in an inning. We almost batted around one inning, so other teams are very capable of doing the same. It's a matter of taking it one pitch at a time, one A-B. Even in games like tonight you still want to go out there and have good at-bats and not give any away."

Turner added another RBI single to finish the scoring. With Turner's three hits, he is now riding a 13-game hitting streak.

Suzuki had a double and a single high off the top of the Green Monster, plus a walk and a run scored.

Martinez is thrilled when the bottom of the order can get the offense going.

"It was awesome," Martinez said. "We need all these guys to start hitting. We got to try to extend our lineup. Those guys can hit down there. I know Victor can hit. Good to see him break out today, get three hits. It was nice, so let's keep it going. When he gets on base and he flips the lineup over, we can score a lot of runs."

The win came on the day Major League Baseball remembered the legacy of Jackie Robinson and what he meant to the game. Harrison said he was glad to get back on the field to play after many teams around the league paused for one day to draw attention to the racial and social injustice issues the country has been confronting for a long time.

"It felt good to play, especially on a day like today, considering what Jackie represented, his legacy," Harrison said. "I think it was a great day for us all to come back and play and represent him well. Started with the production that they showed on the scoreboard. A lot of us talked after that and some guys had mentioned that they hadn't seen him speak outside of a baseball uniform.

"It allowed us to take a step back and remember why we are all here. There is a reason we all play together: It's the sacrifices he made and guys that were with him. Sometimes it allows you to go out and play the game that you love because you realize that others have made sacrifices that you couldn't imagine doing."

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