Analysis of the Nationals' 8-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.
How it happened: It was less than a week ago that the Nationals' lineup was an utter mess, a group that despite enjoying good health had only scored two total runs during a three-game losing streak. If they were to find their way, it would have to come on the road and against tough division opponents.
They also, apparently, just needed a minor lineup adjustment to get them going. Ever since manager Dusty Baker swapped Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon in the lineup, the Nats have been on fire.
The Nationals offense kept rolling on Sunday in their 8-2 victory over the Marlins, the fourth win for the Nats in their last five games and their third during that stretch with at least seven runs scored. They moved to 7-6 on the season against Miami and now look like a completely different team than they were just six days ago.
What it means: The Nats return home winners of two straight series against division opponents with another difficult stretch awaiting them. The Nats host the Mets for three games and then the Cardinals for four at Nationals Park. The Nats are a combined 5-1 against those teams, but know neither club will be an easy out. At 27-17, the Nats sit 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mets in first place. The Mets just swept the Brewers in three games at home.
Revere leading the way: Ben Revere saw only 11 pitches across five at-bats on Sunday, but managed to land three hits with two runs, two steals and three RBI. It was the third consecutive multi-hit game for the Nats outfielder and he now has more hits in his last three games than he had the rest of this season combined. Revere is still batting just .182, but that's double what he was at just five games ago. And how about those steals? They were the first two of the season for Revere, who stole 31 last year and 49 the year before. Revere's first steal came in the first inning and it helped him later score on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper. He also scored after stealing in the third inning on an infield single by Daniel Murphy. Sunday was the best example yet this season of what Revere can provide to the top of the Nats' lineup.
Scherzer goes eight: The Marlins gave Scherzer fits the first time he saw them this season in April, but on Sunday the Nationals' ace made it eight strong innings with his only blemish a two-run homer by Justin Bour. In that sense, it was typical for what we've seen from Scherzer this season. He struck out eight batters and walked none, but still allowed a homer, which he has been prone to do. Scherzer has now allowed homers in four consecutive starts and is at 14 total on the season. That leads the majors. It has been a problem and he knows it, but it's something that didn't ultimately hurt him too much in Sunday's win. Scherzer moved to 5-3 on the season with a 3.80 ERA.
Rendon continues to roll: The biggest story of this road trip may be the resurgence of Rendon, who came through with another multi-hit game on Sunday, his fourth in his last five outings. Rendon could have had more if weren't for a leaping grab by Marcell Ozuna to rob a would-be homer in the second inning. Rendon still managed a walk, a double and a triple, his first three-bagger since Aug. 18, 2014. Rendon's double drove in Murphy in the third inning and his triple brought in Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman in the ninth. It was Rendon's first three-RBI game of the season. Since Baker moved him to the sixth spot in the lineup, Rendon is 10-for-20 (.500) with three doubles, seven RBI and five walks.
Up next: The Nationals return to Washington for a seven-game homestand beginning with three games against the Mets Monday through Wednesday. The opener will be a rematch of last Wednesday's Nats win with Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 186) again squaring off with Bartolo Colon (3-3, 3.75).