Aug 30, 2014, 1:21 AM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals entered Friday night in a three-game skid going up against the best right-hander of his generation. Few on their roster had ever faced Felix Hernandez, and those who had found no luck.
But for some reason, in a development that no one could have predicted, the Nats slapped around King Felix for the worst start of his 2014 season, the worst start he’s had in a calendar year. Felix may still win the AL Cy Young, but this particular game will not make the resumé tape.
The Nationals struck for four home runs off Hernandez, the most he has allowed in his 10-year career. Anthony Rendon was the first to cash in and it happened on the first pitch he ever saw from the superstar.
The second home run was a two-run bomb to center field by Jayson Werth. In the fourth inning the Nats then saw shots from Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond. The latter established a career-high 81 RBI for Desmond.
They then added two more home runs off former National Joe Beimel for six in total, the most they’ve had in a single game since Sept. 5, 2012. Only four times since the Nats moved to D.C. have they hit six homers.
Hernandez had not allowed five earned runs since Aug. 28 of last season. He is now 13-5 with a 2.23 ERA on the year.
The Nationals moved to 76-57 with the win and lead the NL East by six games. The Braves beat Marlins Friday night, 5-2.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Werth’s homer makes this category because it gave the Nationals their go-ahead run. It came in the third inning on an 0-1 slider, a low pitch he got under to loft over the fence in center field. Werth brought home Rendon, who ended the day 4-for-4 with a homer, double, single and a walk.
Bryce Harper also homered in the eighth inning for the 50th of his career. That moves him to fourth place all time among left-handed batterss under 22. Here is the top 5:
Mel Ott – 86
Eddie Matthews – 72
Ken Griffey – 60
Bryce Harper – 50
Ted Williams – 49
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: In what marked his 10th win of the season, Jordan Zimmermann had one bad inning. In the bottom the first, Zimmermann gave up two runs on singles to Kendry Morales and Kyle Seager. That was it.
After getting out of the second with his team down a run, Zimmermann settled in to go six innings with eight strikeouts, seven hits and a walk. It was his seventh straight quality start.
Zimmermann is now 10-5 on the season with a 2.93 ERA through 165 2/3 innings. He now has 16 strikeouts in his last two starts (14.0 IP) and is just 14 away from setting a career-high.
KEY STAT: Desmond has won two straight NL Silver Slugger awards. Tonight he set a career-high with 81 RBI and it’s not even September yet.
UP NEXT: The Nationals and Mariners continue their series with a 9:10 p.m. start on Saturday night. Stephen Strasburg (10-10, 3.59) will go up against rookie left-hander Roenis Elias (9-11, 4.01). Former Nat Chris Young was originally scheduled to pitch, but the Mariners switched their plans on Friday.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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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- Eventful BP for Harper, update on Werth in Tuesday's workout
- Desmond, Rendon like what they see from Zimmerman at 1B
- Scherzer to start exhibition opener vs. Mets
- Bryce Harper does a pretty epic videobomb on Anthony Rendon
- ESPN throws shade on Nats' jerseys, calling them among worst in MLB
- On the cusp of majors, Taylor bides his time
- Mets pitcher really, really does not like defensive shifts
- Dodgers sign former Phillies free agent bust
- Nats sign son of MLB legend to minor-league deal
- Zimmerman getting used to working with fellow infielders at 1B