WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' Majors-best offense awakened from its brief recent slumber, breaking out for eight runs during a rain-soaked fourth inning at Nationals Park to cruise to a 10-1 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.Washington had averaged 2.8 runs per game during their previous five games, before its
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' Majors-best offense awakened from its brief recent slumber, breaking out for eight runs during a rain-soaked fourth inning at Nationals Park to cruise to a 10-1 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.
Washington had averaged 2.8 runs per game during their previous five games, before its lineup erupted for nine hits in the fourth inning, matching a Nats team record. That included back-to-back home runs -- a two-run homer from Jayson Werth followed by a 450-foot moonshot from Bryce Harper -- and a three-run homer from Anthony Rendon, who also went deep in the second inning for his second career multi-homer game. He had five RBIs on the night.
"It's fun to be a part of when you get going like that," said Ryan Zimmerman, who went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. "It doesn't happen very often, so you just try to enjoy it and keep going."
It backed a stellar outing from Joe Ross in his first start since he was sent to Triple-A Syracuse three weeks ago to work on his mechanics. The righty matched a career high by throwing eight innings, striking out six, with the only blemish coming via a home run from Mike Zunino in the sixth.
"That was the guy I've been reading about in Triple-A," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He threw a lot of strikes, minimized his pitches. ... His velocity stayed up most of the game. His arm slot was what he worked on. He gave us just what we needed."
All of the Nationals' offense came off Mariners right-hander Christian Bergman, who was roughed up for 10 runs on 14 hits in four innings, as Seattle lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Eight-run frame: The Nationals put the game out of reach early by blitzing Bergman in the fourth. The final tally from a dizzying frame was something to behold: 11 balls put in play with an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher, to go along with nine hits, three home runs and seven of the eight runs scored coming with two outs.
"You look at how that whole fourth inning kinda unraveled on us," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We had some chances to get out of the inning, and they got on a hit parade and we couldn't stop it."
"Those big innings turn into like a feeding frenzy," Baker said. More >
Harper's jaw-dropping shot: The highlight of the decisive inning was undoubtedly Harper's mammoth home run, which was rocketed 450 feet to dead center field. The blast, Harper's team-leading 14th of the season, left his bat at 109.9 mph at a launch angle of 25 degrees, per Statcast™. Surprisingly, it was his second-longest homer of the season, just shy of the 451-foot long ball he hit in Colorado on April 27.
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The Nationals have scored 62 runs during Ross' four starts, a Major League record for a pitcher's first four starts of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mariners: Seattle will look to rebound in D.C. as it sends Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 1.29 ERA) to the hill Wednesday night at 4:05 p.m. PT. This will mark the second start of the season for the 27-year-old right-hander, who was originally brought up from the Minors as a bullpen arm before being called upon for rotation duty.
Nationals: The Nats will continue this three-game series with the Mariners at 7:05 ET on Wednesday night. Tanner Roark will take the mound for Washington, hoping to pitch deep into the game and correct the high pitch count issues that have hindered him recently.
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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.