WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez was searching for a way to energize his offense, to help it shake the inconsistency that has plagued it the past month. So he switched around his lineup Tuesday.One of the most noteworthy moves was Trea Turner, who usually hits first or second, changing
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Dave Martinez was searching for a way to energize his offense, to help it shake the inconsistency that has plagued it the past month. So he switched around his lineup Tuesday.
One of the most noteworthy moves was Trea Turner, who usually hits first or second, changing to the six spot. Turner entered the Nationals' 9-7 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night hitting .200 in June, but the 24-year-old broke out of that slump and electrified Washington's offense by hitting 4-for-4 and finishing a triple shy of the cycle at Nationals Park. The Nationals have won six consecutive games against Baltimore.
"It's a perfect spot for him," Martinez said. "I said in Spring Training, he's a pure hitman. I don't want him thinking about taking pitches, getting on base. I just want him to go hit. When he goes up there and thinks about just hitting, he usually swings at better pitches and he draws walks, but he does what we saw tonight."
Turner opened the scoring with his eighth home run of the season in the second inning, but Jefry Rodriguez, making his first Major League start in place of Jeremy Hellickson, handed the Orioles the lead by allowing two-run homers in the third and fourth innings.
Turner helped the Nationals regain their edge by opening the fifth inning with a single and later scoring on Adam Eaton's single. The Nationals scored four runs in the inning to tie the game at five. Bryce Harper, who entered Tuesday with one hit in his previous 24 at-bats, ripped an RBI double in the frame.
"When you're going good or bad, those balls that trickle through the hole or fall in between people, that mentally boosts how you feel, how you're playing," Turner said. "When each and every person has confidence in themselves, it makes all of us better."
The Orioles scored a run off Justin Miller in the sixth, but the Nationals again plated four runs in the seventh inning -- including two on a double from Anthony Rendon -- to regain an advantage they wouldn't give up.
Juan Soto has been the only consistent Nationals hitter this month, but Turner showed he may be heating up in his new offensive role.
"You can't keep a good dog down, honestly," Eaton said. "The guy is going to continue to scrape and claw. And wherever he's hitting, it doesn't matter if it's 1-2-3-4-5-6. Wherever he hits, he's going to hit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
About six hours after landing in Washington following his trade from the Royals on Monday night, Kelvin Herrera made his Nationals debut in the eighth inning.
• Herrera arrives, debuts in DC
The right-hander received a standing ovation as he jogged from the bullpen to the mound. The 28-year-old needed six pitches to retire the side and touched 98 mph with his fastball.
"It's funny, you see 95 on the Jumbotron, but it looks like 104," Eaton said. "I'm not kidding. I don't know what the gurus upstairs say about his spin effect or whatever, but I'm telling you it looks like 104 coming out of a cannon. I'm so happy he's here and he's on my team and I don't have to face him any time in the near future."
Turner is the only Nationals player other than Soto to homer in the past 10 days.
Giovany Gonzalez will try to break out of his slump when he takes the mound at Nationals Park against the Orioles on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. The left-hander has allowed a combined nine runs over 9 1/3 innings in his past two starts. Gonzalez, who will counter Baltimore starter Andrew Cashner, threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings when he last faced the Orioles, on May 28.
Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.