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Mind on Houston, Rendon extends career year

Native of city devastated by hurricane, Nats star shows off intense focus
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Throughout all the injuries the Nationals have endured this season, one of the stablizing forces in their lineup has been third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Continuing a career year, Rendon's double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning Tuesday helped seal an 8-3 victory against the Marlins as he cleared the bases as part of a four-RBI night. It increased Rendon's RBI total to 85, matching a career high he set in 2016.

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WASHINGTON -- Throughout all the injuries the Nationals have endured this season, one of the stablizing forces in their lineup has been third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Continuing a career year, Rendon's double with the bases loaded in the seventh inning Tuesday helped seal an 8-3 victory against the Marlins as he cleared the bases as part of a four-RBI night. It increased Rendon's RBI total to 85, matching a career high he set in 2016.

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"He's amongst the leaders hitting with runners in scoring position, especially with two outs," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "When you just need a single or double and you don't need a homer, he doesn't strike out very often, he doesn't hit into double plays very often. ... He has a knack of staying off close pitches or fouling off other pitches in order to get back into the count."

Video: MIA@WSH: Rendon clears bases with double in the gap

Rendon has excelled in those positions, posting a 1.020 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position. And he has managed to stay calm and focused in such situations, even as he plays through a difficult time off the field. Rendon is from Houston and has family and friends located in the area being impacted by Hurricane Harvey. His parents and brother were recently relocated to his home after water began creeping up toward their house in the country.

Rendon and Nationals right-hander Matt Albers -- the two Houston natives on the Nationals' roster -- are helping raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Albers' wife, Tara, is eight months pregnant and was still in Houston with their young son before relocating to Dallas on Sunday.

Tweet from @Anthonyrendon_6: Help Matt and I support Houston! https://t.co/GZsQwMyZUi

"It's definitely a challenge; it's on my mind constantly," Rendon said. "I would say when your family is in need and your friends are in need, people that you care about growing up ... city of Houston that's definitely home for me, but you got to just take it in stride. And have faith in the man upstairs that he has a plan."

Rendon acknowledged baseball can be a bit of a refuge at times like this, a few hours when his mind gets lost on the field as he continues a season that could put him in consideration for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He led the NL with 6.3 Wins Above Replacement entering Tuesday, with career highs in home runs, OPS and wRC+.

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

Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon