With consistent at-bats, Goodwin displaying power stroke

Brian Goodwin went 3-for-4 with two homers and two walks as the Nationals dropped the Reds 6-5 in 10 innings.

His biggest hit might have been the single with two outs in the 10th that got Trea Turner to third base to continue what turned out to be the game-deciding inning.

Bryce Harper followed with a RBI single to win it for the Nats, who notched their 19th comeback win of the season.

Goodwin-Swings-White-Sidebar.jpgGoodwin's two solo shots came in the first and seventh innings of his first multi-homer game in the majors. The late homer tied the game at 5-5.

Goodwin has now homered in each of his last four starts at Nats Park.

Goodwin's recent groove in D.C.: 8-for-14 (.571) with a double, five home runs, five runs and seven RBIs in his last five games at home. Manager Dusty Baker talked about it.

"Goodie, he's learning," Baker said. "He's learning how to hit. He's learning very quickly. He listens to instructions, and we have a very good batting coach core here. He works, and he wants to stay here. Hunger will drive a man to do more than he knows he's capable of doing. So yeah, he seems kind of unfazed in most situations. He wants to stay here."

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who allowed five runs in five innings, watched as his club chipped away. Goodwin's first homer got the Nationals on the scoreboard. The second made it a new ballgame.

"He's getting more consistent playing time," Strasburg said. "He's always had the ability. I think his approach has been really good. I think he looks really comfortable in the box right now. Seeing the ball really well."

Goodwin's power stroke has been eye-opening. In just 32 games with the big club this season, he has connected on six doubles, one triple, six homers and 15 RBIs. Last year in his first 22 games with Nats, he didn't hit one homer. But he showed in 2016 he could hit for power: 14 homers and 68 RBIs at Triple-A.

"He did that all last year when we played together in Syracuse," said Turner. "I played with him a ton, and it's just a matter of getting those opportunities. He hasn't gotten a chance to play consistently until now, and it's showing. He's a really good player and it's just a matter of getting consistent opportunities, and I think that helps everybody. And he's taking advantage of it."

Goodwin agreed that getting to play in multiple games has helped him build on each at-bat.

"It definitely boosts your confidence," Goodwin said. "You know people are paying attention. They kind of want you to get ABs, want to keep you in the lineup. I think when you see that, it just helps you to sit back and enjoy the ride."

Harper, who had the game-winning hit -- the fifth walk-off of the season for the Nats and Harper's third of 2017 - said Goodwin deserves credit for being very good.

"He's done a great job," Harper said. "His approach has been phenomenal. Being able to come in and not play every single day and then come in and play. It's been great. Goodie's a great player. Did a great job throughout all the minor leagues and came up here and finally got a chance to play every single day, definitely helping him."

Goodwin can play a critical role this season with the Nats outfield depth challenged. Adam Eaton is out for the season as he recovers from ACL surgery, and Michael A. Taylor was not available Friday (undisclosed injury) until a late pinch-hit.

"It's been very gratifying," Goodwin said. "You put in work and you do all you can to get better as a player and try to let it show on the field. I got my opportunity, and I've done just that. It makes me very proud."

Goodwin said being able to hit in a lineup with guys like Turner and Harper around him provides him with pitches to hit.

"It's just having good ABs, being extra focused and trying to get the next guy up," Goodwin said. "I know being in the two-hole, having Harp and those guys behind me, I know they don't want to get to those guys. So that's what I want to do: make them have to pitch to those guys."

"Guy's got a lot of sock in that bat," Harper said. "Can play great left field, center field, anywhere we need him. Done a great job."

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