May 22, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
After tying a Nationals’ record with a perfect 5-for-5 game on Tuesday night, center fielder Denard Span picked up right where he left off against the Reds on Wednesday.
Span took the second pitch from Reds’ starter Alfredo Simon over the right field fence for his first home run of the season. Six plate appearances in a row, six hits.
Before Tuesday night’s game, Span had a .239 batting average. But after Tuesday and Wednesday, he’s hitting .268 and starting to look like the guy who had a MLB-best hitting streak of 29 games in 2013.
Span went 2-for-4 in Wednesday’s loss, as he also led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center field. It was a line drive that was originally ruled an out on a diving attempt by Billy Hamilton, but a challenge by Nats manager Matt Williams overturned it to a hit.
Back to the homer, though. Span didn’t record one until July 27 of last season, his 98th game. This year he did it in his 39th appearance.
“It’s a good feeling when you look up at the scoreboard and don’t have that goose egg anymore. Last year it took me about 300 and some at-bats to get a home run, but this year it definitely feels a lot better to get it out of the way,” he said.
Span, however, was a bit worried after watching the ball go over the fence. Obviously he’ll take the run for his team, but in the past his home runs have preceded slumps.
“Honestly, when I hit it I was like ‘oh God.’ Normally when I hit a home run, that’s when the good feeling leaves. Then I start thinking about hitting home runs.”
Span was one of the few bright spots for the Nationals on Wednesday as they lost the game and the series to the Cincinnati Reds. They are now 24-22 on the season, still sitting 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the division.
Span believes the Nats are playing well at the moment, considering all the injuries they have endured. The team’s disabled list currently holds former All-Stars Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez, and Ryan Zimmerman, and former Silver Slugger, Adam LaRoche.
“Right now we’re banged up. It’s tough because I feel like we’re still playing good baseball, even with our circumstances right now. Even the two games we lost this series, they were tough losses. We were in both of those games. We had opportunities to win both of those games. This was just a tough series and we’ll have to move on to the next one and get ready for Pittsburgh.”
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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