Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in six runs to lead the Nationals to a 10-7 victory over the Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Saturday night.
NATIONALS 10 REDS 7
Nationals Record 54-36, first place in NL East, 9.5 games ahead of Atlanta
WP- Scherzer (11-5) LP- Castillo (1-2) SV- Grace (2)
HR- Rendon 2(18), Raburn (2), Gennett 16
Saturday’s game two of the Nats’ four game series with the Reds was not as clean a contest as the team’s 5-0 win on Friday, but the bottom line is that the Nats won in a contest where they continued to show their lineup is a force to be reckoned with. Here’s a look at some of the highlights (and a few lowlights) from the game.
STARS OF THE GAME
Every time Nats’ ace Max Scherzer takes the mound, something exceptional is bound to happen. The fiery righty was on his game again on Saturday, albeit with a few bumps in the road that he smoothed over by overwhelming the Reds as he has many opponents before them. Scherzer threw six shutout innings and struck out 10 to earn his 11th win of the season, and lowered his ERA to Major League best 2.01 in the process. Scherzer’s brightest moments in the game came in the first and third innings, where he worked out of two on, no out jams to keep the Reds off of the scoreboard until his mates began their destruction of the Reds’ shaky pitching staff.
Anthony Rendon homered twice, including his second career grand slam, and drove in six runs to pace Washington’s 10 run attack. Rendon has hit safely in nine straight games, and is 15-31 with five runs scored, five doubles, two homers, 11 RBI and seven walks in those nine contests.
STRONG IN DEFEAT
Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett may be small by Major League Baseball standards, but he certainly comes up big when he plays against the Nationals. Gennett drove in four runs, three coming on his career high 16th home run in the ninth inning, to give the Reds a chance for a miracle comeback. In 18 at bats against the Nationals this year, Gennett has nine hits, three home runs and seven RBI. His six career home runs against Washington is the most he’s hit against any opponent.
Washington’s Ryan Raburn contributed to the team’s offensive fireworks with a seventh inning solo home run, the 93rd of his career and the second in his time as a National. The blast came on an no ball, two strike pitch from the Reds’ Michael Lorenzon, making the round tripper the first Raburn his hit in career when down 0-2 in the count.
Excuse the members of the Reds’ pitching staff if they feel queasy when the see players wearing the Nats’ curly W enter the batters box to face them. In Washington’s last ten games against the Reds, the Nats have scored in double digits five times, have put up 81 runs and have hit an astounding 24 home runs.
Trevor Gott’s nightmare outing in the bottom of the ninth marked the sixth time that a Nationals’ pitcher has allowed five or more runs without recording an out in the contest. Prior to last night, former National Felipe Rivero was the last player to achieve the dubious mark. Rivero gave up six runs without getting anyone out in a 7-3 loss at San Diego on June 18, 2016.
The news regarding the Nats’ bullpen was not all bad last night. Enny Romero struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh, giving him nine strikeouts in his last four innings pitched over four outings. Romero has not been scored upon in 15 of his last 18 appearances. Fellow lefties Oliver Perez and Matt Grace also registered one, two, three innings, with Grace becoming the first National with saves in back to back games since Koda Glover did the trick at San Francisco on May 29th and 30th.
Tanner Roark allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of his first 13 starts, but has done so only once in his last four times as the starting pitcher. The righty will look to get things moving in the right direction again when he takes the mound later today. Both Gennett (5-15, home run, four RBI) and Tucker Barnhart (5-10, double) have had success against Roark in the past, while Billy Hamilton (2-14) and Zack Cozart (1-12) have not.
Opposing Roark will be lanky Texan Homer Bailey, who has allowed only two earned runs over his last two starts after surrendering 14 (including eight at Washington last month) in his first two. Adam Lind is 3 for 3 with a home run against Bailey in his career, while Bryce Harper has only one hit (a triple) in eight at bats against him.