Photo by Anthony Amobi / Nationals News Network
Remember the first half of the week when the Nationals couldn’t hit for squat? And what about the time Manager Jim Riggleman watched his men strand 14 base runners claiming “it’s better to have men on than not at all” on Friday?
Well, if the Cubs series was the rule, then Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals is the exception. The Chicago Cubs outscored Washington 18-5 in three games, but Washington went on to outscore St. Louis 25-19 in three games with one game left today at 1:35.
Riggleman went into the Saturday night game with a different lineup than usual. The plan was to get some people a little different feel when they went up to the plate by changing their spot at the dish. “I feel like we’ve tried to stay with basically the same lineup the whole time [this year] and it’s been hot and cold so we just shook it up a bit,” Riggleman said.
And Riggleman said, “Let there be hits.” And – there were.
The Nats offensive burst can’t be pinpointed to any singular player, which is a good thing. Most of the bats in Riggleman’s lineup saw some action in the 14-5 victory in front of a Strasburg-esque crowd of 30,688. Only two out of the starting nine didn’t record a hit in the serious pounding of Cardinals’ starting pitcher Kyle Lohse.
Saturday’s lineup had Adam Kennedy leading off, Roger Bernadina hitting third, Adam Dunn hitting fifth and Nyjer Morgan hitting eighth. Which, according to MASN’s Ben Goessling, is an experiment to see what Kennedy can do at the top of the lineup, what Ian Desmond will continue to do since he’s been hot this month in the No. 2 spot, and so on.
The biggest difference between Friday and Saturday’s games besides the lineup changes were the lack of stranded runners left on base. Friday, the Nats stranded 14 (yes, that’s the same amount of runs they scored Saturday). Saturday, they stranded two.
Big hits weren’t the only outcome of the Nats taking the field Saturday night. They also managed to get first base coach Dan Radison and Scott Olsen ejected for sharing some questionable words with the umpires on a questionable play. The specifics of what Radison and Olsen said are uncertain, however, Riggleman did make a point of telling the media that “you can’t say stuff to the umpire like that.”
Livan Hernandez can also be attributed with having a fine game. He gave up three runs in the top of the first including two solo home runs to Jon Jay and Albert Pujols, but he settled down enough to help his team record their 100th win at Nationals Park since it opened.
Michael More recorded a career-high four hits in a game including two doubles and Adam Dunn broke out of his slump with a three-run homer in the fifth in what ended up being a five-RBI game for the slugger.
“It certainly didn’t feel like [a] 14-5 [game],” Riggleman said. It was tight all the way, but the Nats managed several rallies to rake in the highest scoring game by the club since moving to the District in 2005.