Nationals hit 4 homers in 10-2 win over Rangers
WASHINGTON (AP) Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche agreed there's something to the theory that hitting is contagious.
If so, it looks as if there's suddenly an epidemic on the Nationals.
Anthony Rendon went 4 for 5 and hit one of four Washington home runs, and Doug Fister allowed four hits in six innings, sending the Nationals to a 10-2 rout of the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
LaRoche, Jose Lobaton and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also homered.
''We've seen that a bunch,'' LaRoche said when asked if good hitting can spread through a team. ''We saw stretches of it last year where we would do this and say `here we go.'
''This was huge to build off of, to know that we can go out there and get more than five or six hits a game and just keep pouring it on,'' LaRoche said. ''That's what the really good teams do.''
Washington has racked up 24 runs and 42 hits in its last three games, winning two straight to climb back to .500.
Fister (3-1) allowed two runs and retired the first 10 Texas batters. He's 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts, with 21 strikeouts and two walks.
He came in with a 5.67 career ERA against the Rangers, but didn't give up a hit until Elvis Andrus doubled in the fourth.
''He's got the ability to work quickly, which certainly helps your defense,'' manager Matt Williams said. ''They expect the ball to be put in play.''
The defense helped Fister in the second when Rendon made stellar backhand play at third and threw out Adrian Beltre.
''That's a great play, probably the most difficult one over there,'' said Williams, a former third baseman. ''It's the high chopper that you can't come get, that you have to give on and he goes down to his knees to stop himself and turn and throw. It's difficult because there is no momentum involved.''
Rendon said: ''I don't know. I just threw it. It happened to go to (LaRoche).''
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (2-1) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He had won two straight, but didn't make it past the second inning Saturday.
The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rendon lined Tepesch's pitch into the Rangers bullpen for his sixth home run. He had six straight hits over two days before striking out in the eighth.
In the second, Lobaton, spelling Wilson Ramos in a day game after a night game, worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a two-run homer into the first row of seats in right center. Tepesch had given up just two homers in 18 1-3 innings before Saturday.
''I think what caused him his demise (was) early on he was going deep in counts, and that's a fastball hitting team, and he had to try and throw a strike,'' Texas manager Ron Washington said. ''And when he did they made him pay for it.''
The Nationals weren't done in the second, with singles by Denard Span and Rendon. Jayson Werth doubled and the ball was bobbled in left by Shin-Soo Choo. Span and Rendon scored to make it 5-0.
Washington broke the game open in the fourth.
Andrus lost Fister's pop-up in the sun and it fell for a lead-off single. Then with first and second and one out, Werth hit a smash that Andrus bobbled before getting the force at second, with Werth just beating the relay.
LaRoche then followed with a three-run shot, his seventh of the year, putting the Nationals up 8-0. He has hit safely in all five games (7 for 22) since returning from a right quad strain.
The Rangers got to Fister in the fifth when Alex Rios walked and scored on a double by Rougned Odor, and Mitch Moreland added an RBI-single in the sixth. Hairston, pinch-hitting for Werth, hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
NOTES: Washington used pitcher Nick Martinez to pinch hit for Tepesch in the third inning. Martinez grounded out. ... It was the Rangers' sixth straight game without hitting a home run. ... Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman (broken right thumb) was to play five innings in left field during his second rehab game Saturday night at Class A Potomac, Virginia. Zimmerman went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice fly as the designated hitter Friday night. ... Hairston has 13 career pinch-hit homers, the most among active players. ... RH Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35) faces Washington's Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.47) in Sunday's series finale.