Nats' offense awakens in big way by the Bay

April 25th, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO -- Difficulty scoring runs had been the biggest trademark of the Nationals' four-game skid heading into Wednesday's game against the Giants, as they entered hitting .179 with eight runs scored during that span. That made Wednesday afternoon's series finale at AT&T Park feel like a sort of catharsis for Washington, as its offense erupted for season highs in runs and hits and Max Scherzer turned in another gem en route to a 15-2 victory over the Giants.
Matt Adams hammered a three-run home run in the fourth and collected six RBIs, and went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in one of the best games of his young career. went 5-for-6 on the afternoon, raising his batting average from .232 to .267.
The Nats' 15 runs scored set a new season high and helped them snap a four-game losing streak. They scored 14 of those 15 runs with two outs, the most two-out runs in team history and the most in the Majors since 2015, according to Elias.

"The boys have been swinging the bats well," manager Dave Martinez said. "So this could actually jump-start our offense."

Considering the Nationals' issues scoring runs entering this game, it appeared as if they would have to count on Scherzer to stop the losing skid. He did his part and continued his excellent start to the season with six innings of two-run ball. Scherzer struck out 10 on the afternoon, his fourth double-digit strikeout game in six starts this season. He now has a Major League-leading 57 strikeouts on the season.
It has been rare this season, however, to have backing from his lineup like he enjoyed Wednesday.

"When you get that as a starting pitcher, you just want to go out there and put up zeros to get the offense back in and have everybody run to the bat rack," said Scherzer, who had his own four-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday. "That's what makes it fun."
The Nats have scuffled recently while losing three of their best hitters in , and to the disabled list. and were both out of the starting lineup Wednesday with scheduled days off. So Wednesday's lineup was far from full strength, but the Nats received key contributions from their reserves, something they have not gotten consistently this season.
Stevenson reached base five times, collecting hits in his first four at-bats, including a pair of doubles, while scoring two runs. Adams, in the lineup in part because of his career success against Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija -- he is now 9-for-17 in his career against the right-hander -- got the scoring started with a run-scoring single in the first and capped it in the eighth with a two-run double.

"We know that this is what the offense is capable of doing," Adams said. "If we keep going out there and having quality ABs like we have been, things are going to start falling. And they did today."

Wednesday's win concludes a nine-game, 10-day road trip for the Nationals, which they finished with a 4-5 record. The big win alone does not do enough to completely erase that sour taste in their mouth, but it makes the long flight back to Washington a bit easier.
"Somewhat," Scherzer said. "At least we didn't get swept, but we got to play better baseball overall. We all know it, you guys know it, the other teams know it, so we just got to continue to keep grinding as we finish out April."

"That gives you a little confidence, prove you belong out there. That was a good win today, and we needed it. Max did what he always does. It was a fun game to be a part of." -- Stevenson, on his career day

The Nationals return home after a long road trip and send right-hander to the mound hoping to set the tone for the start of a 10-game homestand, beginning Friday night against the D-backs. Strasburg's fastball was electric in his last start as he posted his first double digit strikeout game of the year. Arizona will counter with right-hander . First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.