WASHINGTON — The Nationals erupted for seven runs of offense, hitting four home runs in one inning to break open a scoreless game in Miami Tuesday evening.
Prior to the seventh inning, Washington had only four hits off of Marlins left-handed starter Adam Conley. Stephen Strasburg was equally unhittable, having only given up a pair of singles and a double to that point in the game.
Daniel Murphy led off the seventh for the Nationals with a fly-out, bringing Jayson Werth — sitting on 199 career home runs — to the plate. After working Conley to a 3-2 count, Werth drilled a 92-MPH fastball over the left-center field fence for a milestone homer, the Nats’ first run of the game and a 1-0 lead.
His 200th home run ball was quickly recovered.https://twitter.com/JWerthsBeard/status/722592179047243776
That brought Wilson Ramos up, but he would only need one pitch to piggyback off of Werth with a home run of his own. 2-0.
After Danny Espinosa flew out to right-center, Strasburg singled — his second of the game — to give the Nats their first baserunner of the inning. Michael Taylor doubled, putting runners on second and third.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly paid a visit to the mound, replacing Conley with rookie right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren — who was called up from Class-AAA New Orleans earlier in the day — to pitch to Anthony Rendon. Rendon drew a walk on six pitches, which was all Mattingly needed to see to spare the rookie from Harper with the bases loaded. That dubious task went to lefty reliever Chris Narveson.
Harper kept the line moving, crushing a 1-2 fastball into the right-center field seats for his second career grand slam to give the Nats a 6-0 lead. As ESPN Stats and Information noted on Twitter, Harper now has more home runs (7) than strikeouts (6) on the season.
What kind of numbers would someone have to suggest Bryce Harper is going to put up this season before you were like, "No way he does that"?— Jason Lukehart (@JasonLukehart) April 20, 2016
.360/.530/.760 https://t.co/eDuCwMoTfc— Neal Kendrick (@neal_kendrick) April 20, 2016
Bryce is better than Trout— Matt Snyder (@MattSnyderCBS) April 20, 2016
Ryan Zimmerman quickly followed, also planting a 1-2 fastball into the seats to make the score 7-0, the second time the Nationals hit back-to-back home runs in the inning.
Scherzer after Bryce hit the grand slam pic.twitter.com/pkyHP1VKrt— Danny (@recordsANDradio) April 20, 2016
Washington’s onslaught ended exactly as it began, on a Murphy fly-out.
The Nats’ final seventh-inning line: 6 hits, 4 home runs, 1 walk and 7 runs.
Strasburg carried the Nats through the eighth inning before being relieved Shawn Kelley for the final three outs in the ninth.
Strasburg's final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K, 105 pitches, 75 strikes. Of the 3 hits, 2 were infield singles.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) April 20, 2016
Stephen Strasburg's last 16 starts: 11-2, 1.65 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 131 K, 19 BB.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) April 20, 2016
When this game winds up on MASN’s “Nationals Classics,” viewers will be awfully confused until the seventh inning.