Nats end trip with 4 HRs, 12 runs, series win

September 13th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Nationals traveled to Minnesota this week having lost five of their previous seven games to the Mets and Braves, a pair of their National League East rivals.

Washington will be heading home, with a little less sleep than expected, feeling good after winning its final two games against the American League Central-leading Twins.

, , Juan Soto and all homered, and pitched six steady innings as the Nationals beat the Twins, 12-6, on Thursday night at Target Field to end their seven-game road trip on a positive note. The Nats lead the Cubs and Brewers by 3 1/2 games for the top NL Wild Card.

Following a 50-minute rain delay, Washington won for the third time in four games and heads home to host NL East-leading Atlanta for a three-game weekend series.

“It’s going to feel really good if I get some sleep,” manager Dave Martinez joked after Thursday’s victory, which ended at 11:15 p.m. CT. “The boys came out and played the last couple days. We’re swinging the bats again, which is nice. For a while there, we hadn’t swung the bats well. Now, we’re starting to swing the bats. We’re working good at-bats, and that’s what I like. We’re staying in the middle of the field.”

Rendon and Soto each collected three RBIs for Washington, while Corbin (12-7) allowed three runs on nine hits, the second most he’s allowed this season, while striking out three.

“We’re still confident,” Corbin said. “We’re playing some good ballclubs. You’re going to lose some of these games. To win a series against these guys is big. We know we've got a big series coming up at home.

“Our schedule is not that easy coming down here in the stretch. We know what we are and where we are in the standings, and we’ve just got to continue to come every day and try to win.”

After losing two of three games at home to the Mets, the Nationals went on the road and lost three of four to the Braves. They followed that with a loss in the opening game at Minnesota, when they mustered only two hits.

The Nats' offense was back on track in the final two games, and it took advantage of Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (13-7) and the Minnesota bullpen.

Rendon hit a solo homer in the first inning, his 33rd of the season. He had two hits and two walks, while raising his average to an MLB-best .335 and tying Atlanta's Freddie Freeman for the Major League lead in RBIs with 117.

The top four in Washington's order -- Trea Turner, Eaton, Rendon and Soto -- combined for seven hits, eight runs scored and seven RBIs.

Eaton continued his impressive run. He tied his career high with his 14th homer of the season. Over his past 28 games, the outfielder is hitting .323 with seven homers and 17 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Soto continued to put his name in the record books. In the sixth, he connected for a two-run homer the opposite way to left field. It was his 34th home run of the season, and the 56th of his career.

That tied Tony Conigliaro for the second most in MLB history before turning 21. Only Hall of Famer Mel Ott has more, with 61 before his 21st birthday. Soto also tied Ty Cobb for the third most career RBIs (175) before turning 21.

“It’s a big spot there if you pitch to Rendon or Soto,” Corbin said. “To have those guys, it’s tough for opposing teams, especially when we get those top-of-the-lineup guys on base who can run. You got these guys, and we’ve got some length now throughout our lineup.”

Five Nationals had two hits, including Asdrubal Cabrera and Victor Robles. In 24 games since joining Washington, Cabrera has 29 RBIs.

“It’s always a good feeling when you win a series,” Cabrera said. “We started the series in Atlanta, and we lose the first three games over there. We got a chance to come back, we did it and now we're going home.”

Adams leaves early

Washington first baseman Matt Adams left the game in the fourth inning with what Martinez called a "tweak" in Adams' shoulder/triceps area.

“It was getting stiff on him, so we just took him out,” Martinez said. “We’ll know more when we get back home.”

Adams is hitting .226 with 20 home runs in 107 games this season. Cabrera moved over to first base when Adams departed, while Brian Dozier took over at second.