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Goodwin playing like a man determined to stay

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- With a chance to play every day, Brian Goodwin is making the most of his opportunity. He continued a recent power surge on Friday night when he notched his first career multi-homer game, including hitting the game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the Nationals' 6-5 victory against the Reds in 10 innings.

Goodwin, who is filling in in left field while Jayson Werth is on the disabled list, has helped soften the blow from losing Werth. Goodwin's OPS this month was .875 before he hit two home runs Friday to increase his homer total to six this month and, well, six in his career. He has been on an especially hot streak during his past 10 games, during which he is hitting .333 with eight extra-base hits that include three doubles and five homers.

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WASHINGTON -- With a chance to play every day, Brian Goodwin is making the most of his opportunity. He continued a recent power surge on Friday night when he notched his first career multi-homer game, including hitting the game-tying home run in the seventh inning of the Nationals' 6-5 victory against the Reds in 10 innings.

Goodwin, who is filling in in left field while Jayson Werth is on the disabled list, has helped soften the blow from losing Werth. Goodwin's OPS this month was .875 before he hit two home runs Friday to increase his homer total to six this month and, well, six in his career. He has been on an especially hot streak during his past 10 games, during which he is hitting .333 with eight extra-base hits that include three doubles and five homers.

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"It's been very gratifying," Goodwin said. "You put in work and you do all you can to get better as a player and try to let it show on the field. I got my opportunity, and I've done just that. It makes me very proud."

Goodwin first began impressing the Nationals last season during his first promotion to the Majors, in August, and played well enough that the team considered him for a spot on the postseason roster.

"He did that all last year when we played together in [Triple-A] Syracuse," shortstop Trea Turner said. "I played with him a ton, and it's just a matter of getting those opportunities. He hasn't gotten a chance to play consistently until now, and it's showing. He's a really good player and it's just a matter of getting consistent opportunities, and I think that helps everybody. And he's taking advantage of it."

But this season was off to a rocky start for Goodwin. When the Nationals first needed a backup outfielder, at the end of April after Adam Eaton tore his ACL, they called up rookie Rafael Bautista instead of Goodwin. It was a move Goodwin admitted surprised him, however, he was off to a slow start in Syracuse after struggling in Spring Training. Even after he turned a corner in Triple-A that earned him a May 8 promotion, Goodwin was still sent back to Syracuse on May 23. He was recalled a day later, but the move was a reminder not to get too comfortable.

Now he's playing like a man determined to stay.

"He's learning how to hit. He's learning very quickly," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He works, and he wants to stay here. Hunger will drive a man to do more than he knows he's capable of doing."

The Nationals still miss Werth, a clubhouse leader who is still recovering from a left foot contusion and only recently stopped requiring a walking boot. But they have been able to count on Goodwin lately, and with each at-bat and each game he is growing more comfortable in Washington.

"It definitely boosts your confidence," he said. "You know people are paying attention. They kind of want you to get ABs, want to keep you in the lineup. I think when you see that, it just helps you to sit back and enjoy the ride."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Brian Goodwin