May 31, 2014, 2:53 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Coming off a much-needed laugher of a win on Friday night, the Nationals kept the good fortune going with another blowout victory over the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. This one ended with a score of 10-2, as their offense continued to roll and Doug Fister pitched another gem of a start.
The Nationals hit three homers in the first four innings to put eight runs on the board. That gave them 17 runs over a stretch of nine frames (dating back to Friday’s game), as many as they had recorded in their previous 54 innings.
Anthony Rendon led the way with a solo homer (6) in the first inning. He finished 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI, having recorded hits in six consecutive at-bats before he struck out in the eighth. Adam LaRoche also had a big day with two hits and a walk, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Jose Lobaton and Scott Hairston also homered to give the Nats four total on the day.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals took the lead in the first on Rendon’s home run, but it was a big second inning that put them ahead comfortably. Four total runs came across in the frame, beginning with Lobaton’s second homer of the season. Danny Espinosa had doubled in the previous at-bat to set up the two-run shot.
Denard Span and Rendon then each got on with two-out singles, setting up a big swing for Jayson Werth. Werth hit a double to left field, a hit that scored Span. Rendon then came home thanks to an error by Shin-Soo Choo in left field. With Fister pitching as strongly as he was, the Nationals gave him far more run support than he would need.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Fister has been the Nats’ best starting pitcher for several weeks now, and on Saturday he was excellent once again. The right-hander began the game perfect through 3 1/3 innings, finally allowing a baserunner in the fourth on a double by Elvis Andrus. The sinker was in full-effect, consistently fooling a Rangers lineup that apparently left their offense in Texas.
Fister finished with six innings of two-run ball. He gave up four hits, a walk, and struck out six. The walk was just his second of the season so far through 29 2/3 innings pitched. He now sits with a 3.34 ERA on the year.
Fister’s first start of the season in Oakland was a disaster, but since he’s gone 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA with 21 strikeouts and two walks in 25 1/3 innings. That’s pretty good.
KEY STAT: The Nationals scored five runs through the first two innings, the most they’ve recorded through two in any game this season. It also extended their streak to seven consecutive innings with runs, starting with Ian Desmond’s home run in the fourth inning of Friday night’s win. That’s the longest stretch in club history and the first for the franchise since the Expos did it in 2003.
UP NEXT: The Nationals and Rangers close out their three-game series with a Sunday matinee (1:35 p.m.). Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.47) will get the ball against his former team with ace Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35) pitching for Texas. The Nats have a chance for their fourth sweep of the season.
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
Full season schedule
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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