Nats' bats doing some major damage at plate
ATLANTA -- For most of April, the Nationals were quite pedestrian at the plate. They came into the series against the Braves batting well below the Mendoza Line.
As they leave Turner Field, the bats are alive and ripping. That's what 26 runs and 30 hits in two games can do for you -- including a 13-4 win in the rubber game on Wednesday night. Both games saw identical outputs of 13 runs on 15 hits -- the first time in franchise history the Nationals put together back-to-back 13-run games.
"I think we had good at-bats," manager Matt Williams said. "We kept getting those opportunities and came through today. If you keep providing yourself the opportunity and you come through, you can do things like that. All-in-all just good offensive effort."
"We had great ABs and are going up there with confidence, and we're a great team," said right fielder Bryce Harper, who reached base three times in tying his career high by reaching in his 15th straight game.
Harper also scored all three times, twice starting off rallies.
"It was a matter of time," he said. "We have a lot of confidence in everybody on this club and we're going to have some fun."
The fun started at the top of the order, where center fielder Denard Span went 7-for-12, with six runs scored in the last two games. He drove in four more -- with a solo shot on Tuesday and a three-run blast on Wednesday.
"We definitely needed to wake our bats up the last two games," said Span, who left Atlanta hitting .317 -- 117 points higher than when he started play on Tuesday night. "The whole cliche, hitting is contagious. Last night was just a good win for us and it carried over to today."
The carryover saw everybody get involved, especially the bottom of the Nationals' order. Catcher Wilson Ramos (3-for-4, two runs, RBI), third baseman Danny Espinosa (4-for-5, two runs, two RBIs), Tuesday night's hero and former Brave Dan Uggla (1-for-4, two runs, two RBIs) and pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (1-for-3, three RBIs), feasted on Braves pitching, going 9-for-16 (.563), with eight RBIs.
The Nationals hit their stride, outscoring the Braves, 24-6, from the fifth inning of Tuesday night on.
"I think maybe we were a little bit more loose [Wednesday] than we had been," Span said. "Even early in the game, they jumped out on us once again and we just kept our composure, and we were able to bounce back and play a good game."
Washington hitters are not only sure of their resilience, they're sure of themselves, period, as they head to New York for a four-game set with the first-place Mets starting Thursday night at Citi Field.
"One through nine we're very good," Harper said. "So it's a lot of fun going up there. We have all the confidence in the world in everybody that goes up to the plate that they're going to get the job done. We're having some fun right now."