Turner and Zimmerman finally reap results of hard hit balls


The Nationals brought the power again in the series finale against the Pirates, winning 3-1 thanks to home runs from Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman.

For Turner, it was only his second homer of the season. It was a big hit for the shortstop, who has had his first 30 games of the season highlighted by his walk rate and stolen bases. Turner's two-run shot got the Nats on the board against Pirates starter Trevor Williams, 2-0 in the sixth.t

Turner went 1-for-4 on the afternoon, but his batting average is still hovering around .281. In the last seven games, he had hit .348 with two doubles, three runs, two stolen bases and four RBIs.

Manager Davey Martinez has seen Turner start to connect in the last week and today he finally really got a hold of one, with the game time temperature at 87 degrees.

"Now that the weather is getting warmer, he's working great at-bats," Martinez said. "He's getting his hits. He's getting his walks. I think the power will come. Like I said before he's a pure hitter, he hits. And he's going to continue to hit."

Martinez has worked very hard as manager to make sure his hitters like Turner and Zimmerman didn't hang their heads when they were not getting results. Martinez has several times referenced how hard his hitters are hitting the ball. And he has relayed that information to them in pregame meetings.

In April, a lot of those hot shots were right at people. Now, some of those are falling. A lot of the other hard hit balls are leaving the park.

"I feel like I've been hitting the ball hard just not driving it in the air," Turner said. "The stats kind of prove that. We looked this morning at me, Zim and Howie (Kendrick) are all up there for hitting the ball pretty hard. I guess Howie's got the best to show for it. But me and Zim, at least power-wise, not as good as we should be and he's been hitting the heck out of the ball, finally got one over the fence today that was good for him too."

Zimmerman was fresh after a day of rest Wednesday. He delivered with a solo shot, his fifth homer of the season, to make it 3-0, and end Williams' day.

Martinez preached to Zimmerman after he had so many line drives hit at people that to take care of that he could just hit a home run.

"We said, 'hey you want to miss a guy, hit it over the fence," Martinez said. "And he did it. But he's hitting the ball really good and he's playing really well. He made an unbelievable play at the end in the ninth so kudos to him that he stays with it and he gets it."

Did Zimmerman believe that all the rhetoric about hitting the ball hard was a good thing even with most of them recorded as outs?

"Yes and no," Zimmerman said. "It makes you feel a little better about it and kind of reinforces the fact you do feel good up there even though you aren't getting anything for it. It makes you keep going and keep trusting what you're doing is the right thing.

"Nothing replaces hits, but yeah, just gotta keep going. I'm hitting the ball well and I actually feel pretty good up there. I've just got to keep grinding it out."

The Nats power returned in the final three games of the series. They have now won five in a row.

The club belted eight homers in these past three contests since manager Davey Martinez elected to put Bryce Harper in the leadoff spot and Matt Adams in the No. 3 hole, outscoring Pittsburgh 24-8.

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