By Matthew Jacobson (@MJacobson12)
Coming into the 8th inning of the first game of the series, the Nationals had scored one run in 16 innings of baseball against the Milwaukee Brewers. After dropping 7 runs in a huge 8th inning that night, it seemed as though the National offense had once again found its groove. Despite this, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the absolute madness that occurred during the third inning of yesterday’s game.
Max Scherzer battled through an excellent at-bat, drawing a 7-pitch walk. Brian Goodwin continued his hot streak, smacking a two run home run to right-center field. Wilmer Difo followed that up with a home run, as did Bryce Harper, as did Ryan Zimmerman. Yes, you’re reading that correctly; 4 consecutive Nationals hit home runs. And that wouldn’t be the end of it. After a Daniel Murphy flyout (which received sarcastic boos from the Nationals Park crowd), Anthony Rendon would go yard, meaning the Nationals had hit 5 home runs in a stretch of 6 at bats, something that had almost never been done before. Jose Lobaton added an RBI double, and after the third inning, the Nationals led 9-0, and would not look back.
Max Scherzer has certainly had better starts this season, considering the different stratosphere he’s been pitching on, but still, a 6-inning, 1-run performance from anyone in the major league is something anyone will take. Scherzer struck out 9, compared with just two walks. Enny Romero, Matt Grace, and Matt Albers would get the final 9 outs of the game, holding the Brewers to just two runs. Considering how this series had started, with the Nationals unable to get hits through the first 16 innings of the series, as well as the Brewers rocking Edwin Jackson in game one, this outburst was not only historic, but needed.
The Nationals would tack on another 6 runs in the game outside of that historic third inning in an almost as historic fourth inning, which included a home run from Jose Lobaton, another run-scoring hit from Bryce Harper, and a second home run from Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals would bat around in both the third and fourth innings, scoring all of their 15 runs, and mashing seven home runs. They won this series scoring 23 runs in 10 innings, delivering a huge blow to a Brewer team who are now playing catch-up with the defending champion Chicago Cubs for the NL Central.
Words cannot describe the sheer magnitiude of the Nats’ offensive explosion yesterday. They scored more runs than recorded outs in the third and fourth innings. They batted around both times. Multiple players had multiple home runs. All the while Max Scherzer bounced back from one of the worst outings of his career to shut down a lineup that had done damage to the Nationals all series. I found myself at a loss for words several times during those third and fourth innings, often resorting to the patented FP Santangelo “are you kidding me?” It is simply astonishing what the Nationals did between the eighth inning of last night’s game and fifth inning of this afternoon’s contest. Not only did they turn both games on their heads, they turned the entire series its head, taking 2 of 3 from a playoff contending team for the second straight series.
The Nats begin a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies tonight. It’ll be Tanner Roark looking to continue his impressive run of form against a dangerous Colorado lineup. German Marquez will look for his 9th win of the season for the Rockies.