Postgame analysis of the Nats' 3-2 walkoff win over the Cincinnati Reds in extra innings on Friday night at Nationals Park.
How it happened: Sometimes runs can come so easy your eight-hole hitter accrues seven RBI in a single game. And sometimes they can be so hard to generate you back yourself into a corner against one of baseball's worst teams.
The Nationals piled up 13 runs in their series-opening blowout win over the Reds on Thursday. On Friday, it wasn't nearly as easy. They got the win, but it took 14 innings to get it done.
The decisive blow was a walkoff double by Ben Revere, a high flyball that caromed off the wall in right-center and nearly cleared the fence. That brought Danny Espinosa - who reached to lead off the inning with a hit-by-pitch - home from second.
Tanner Roark pitched seven strong innings with just two runs allowed. Daniel Murphy had two doubles and two RBI. Revere had three hits and Bryce Harper added two. And relievers Sammy Solis, Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez and Yusmeiro Petit combined to throw six shutout innings and give the Nats a chance for the walkoff.
The Nationals have won six consecutive games for the first time since April 16 when they won seven straight, their longest win streak of the season.
What it means: The Nationals hit the midpoint of the season with a 49-32 record. That puts them on a 98-64 pace, which would match their best mark in franchise history (2012).
Murphy drives in two: Murphy was the standout offensively for the Nats in a game where much of their lineup went cold. The second baseman scored Revere on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, then brought home Jayson Werth on a double in the sixth. The two RBI gave Murphy 55 total on the season. Given this is the halfway point, Murphy is on pace for 110 this year. No Nats players have hit the century mark since Adam LaRoche had 100 in 2012. The Nats team record is actually 110, set by Ryan Zimmerman back in 2006.
Murphy also doubled with one out in the eighth inning. Of his last 34 hits, 17 of them have gone extra bases (8 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR). This was the 34th time in 78 games that Murphy's had multiple hits and the seventh time he's had two or more extra-base knocks.
Harper gets two hits: Harper also had a solid day at the plate with two singles, his sixth multi-hit game in his last 14 outings. During that stretch Harper is 16-for-52 (.308) overall with three homers, eight RBI and nine walks. That's not MVP-level stuff, but it definitely qualifies as progress.
One of Harper's singles on Friday, however, deserves some scrutiny. The Nats right fielder clubbed a line drive off the top of the wall in center field to lead off the fourth and didn't exactly hustle out of the box, as he clearly thought it was gone. The umps reviewed the play to see if it was a homer and determined it was not. That set up an Anthony Rendon double play groundball two at-bats later to end the inning.
Roark much better vs. Reds: Roark entered Friday looking to bounce back against the Reds, who handed him one of his worst starts of this season just a few weeks ago on June 5. The right-hander ended up with a no-decision after he managed seven innings with just two runs surrendered on eight hits and two walks. It was the fifth straight outing Roark's made it at least six innings and the ninth time in 16 starts this season he's gone at least seven frames. Roark stepped off the mound with a 2.93 season ERA, just behind Stephen Strasburg's team-best 2.90 mark.
Up next: The Nats and Reds continue with the third of their four-game series with a 7:15 p.m. first pitch thanks to a FOX national television broadcast. Joe Ross (7-4, 3.30) will get the start for the Nats opposite Reds right-hander (405, 4.38).