For the month of May the Washington Nationals offense had averaged 3.2 runs a game. For most of the month they played without Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, and Adam LaRoche while suffering slumps from Ian Desmond, Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth. It all added up to the Nationals having one of their worst months of the last four seasons, and after the second inning it looked like this game was going to be much the same as many other Nats games of 2014.
Strasburg was dominant in the first retiring the side on just ten pitches including two strikeouts, but in the second he allowed a lead-off double before striking out the next two batters. With Adrian Beltre standing at second and Leonys Martin at the plate Strasburg got the weak contact he wanted but failed to field the come backer with his glove or face and there were suddenly runners on the corners with two outs. Strasburg would then give up RBI singles to the number eight and nine batters before Denard Span made a nice running catch of Shin-Soo Choo’s liner to retire the side.
The Rangers lead would last only for two innings as the Nats bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth. During May, all season actually, the Nats have put runners on but have been constantly searching for the big hit. With one out Werth and LaRoche hit back to back singles and after a Wilson Ramos strikeout the Nationals would need a two out hit with RISP. In those situations in 2014 the Nats as a team have hit .167/.289/.276. Facing a situation the team has struggle in all season Ian Desmond crushed a Colby Lewis pitch the other way over the out of town scoreboard for a three run home run.
It was the big hit the Nationals have been waiting for all season long and both Strasburg and the offense would put this game out of reach. After getting the lead in the bottom of the fourth Strasburg would pitch two more innings striking out four of the eight batters he faced and allowing nothing more than a single. The offense would continue to pile on as Span would reach base to lead off the fifth and on a hit and run attempt to advance to third on Rendon’s ground out to the third baseman, and end up scoring as Rangers’ first baseman Mitch Moreland would make an ill advised throw ending in a run scoring error.
A pinch hit double from Tyler Moore in the bottom of the sixth would add two more, an inning later Ramos would single and the ball would bounce past right fielder Alex Rios to allow two more runs to score, and finally three singles in a row from Span, Rendon, and Werth would score the Nats ninth and final run of the inning. It was a big comfortable win from a Nationals team that hasn’t had a lot of those in the month of May.