Postgame analysis of the Nats' 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night at Nationals Park.
How it happened: All season long manager Dusty Baker has said he believes the Nationals are a hot weather team. During their coldest stretches of offensive ineptitude he would remind reporters of that theory: just wait until the weather warms up.
This must be what he had in mind.
The Nationals' lineup exploded once again on Friday night in their win over the Phillies, the fourth time in their last five games they've scored at least nine runs. And, just like on Tuesday, they did so to rally from a sizable early deficit.
This time they trailed by four in the middle of the third inning, as Stephen Strasburg got off to an unusually rocky start. It didn't matter, though, as they then scored runs in five consecutive frames to swing the game in their favor.
Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and Stephen Drew all homered. Daniel Murphy had two RBI doubles, while Jayson Werth and Drew each had one. Strasburg made it seven innings and struck out 10 for the 28th double-digit strikeout performance of his career. Strasburg moved to 10-0 on the season and extended his winning streak to 13 games.
The Phillies scored six runs keyed by two homers by Tommy Joseph. He hit a two-run bomb off Strasburg in the third and then another off Felipe Rivero in the seventh. Rivero has allowed multiple runs in three of his last four outings. Jonathan Papelbon followed him with his 16th save in 18 appearances of this season.
The Nationals opened their homestead on a positive note and have now won eight of their last 11 games overall.
What it means: The Nats have won four straight against the Phillies and are now 6-4in head-to-head matchups with their division rivals this season after going 2-4 through their first two series. The Nats moved to 37-24 on the year, to tie a season-high of 13 games above .500.
Ramos hits No. 9: We're into the third month of the 2016 season and Ramos just keeps getting better. In Friday's win he clubbed his ninth homer of the season and his fourth in his last 10 games. Ramos has hits in eight consecutive outings and is now batting .345 on the season. He hit .316 in April, .333 in May and is 11-for-24 (.458) in the month of June. Once The Buffalo gets moving, it's hard to slow him down.
Drew also homers: Drew followed Ramos' homer in the fourth inning with a solo shot of his own, a laser to right-center field off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. That marked the eighth time this season the Nationals have hit back-to-back homers. It was Drew's fifth home run of the season and his third in his last five games. He now leads the Nationals in fewest at-bats per home run:
Stephen Drew: 12.4 AB/HR
Chris Heisey: 13.5 AB/HR
Bryce Harper: 14.2 AB/HR
Drew also smacked an RBI double in the seventh inning to put the Nationals up 9-4.
Espinosa homers, too: So many homers. Espinosa launched his 10th of the season on Friday night, which ties him for fourth among MLB shortstops. It was his seventh in his last 14 games. That's quite the pace. Espinosa is now on track to hit 27 homers this season. He went 3-for-4 on the night.
Murphy continues to rake: Murphy had two doubles in this game and both brought in runs. The first was a big one, a two-RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead. Eight of Murphy's last 13 hits have been extra-base knocks. And though his average is down this month, he still has two homers, eight RBI and eight runs scored.
One of Murphy's outs on Friday came when he grounded into a double play to end the third inning. That was just the first double play Murphy has hit into this season. Chase Utley is now the only qualified NL batter without one GIDP.
Up next: The Nationals and Phillies continue their series with a quick turnaround on Saturday. It's a 12:05 p.m. start with Tanner Roark (4-4, 3.21) and Aaron Nola (5-4, 2.65) set to pitch.