Postgame analysis of the Nats' 8-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.
How it happened: Apparently Trea Turner and Max Scherzer can simply do it all.
Having already shown the ability to play sound center field, get on base and wreak havoc with his speed, Turner hit a tape measure home run in Wednesday's 8-3 Nationals win over the Diamondbacks. It registered as a 451-foot bomb to left-center field and it broke a scoreless tie in the third inning to get the Nats started towards another blowout victory.
That's the second-longest homer hit by a Nats player this season, only behind Wilson Ramos' 455-foot shot at Nationals Park on July 24. Even Bryce Harper's third-deck blast on July 20 at Nats Park fell short at 449. Turner's was his first homer of this season and the second of his career.
Scherzer dazzled both on the mound and at the plate. He tossed eight innings of three-run ball with 11 strikeouts and one walk. He also drove in two runs on a single with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and now has five RBI on the season.
Daniel Murphy also left the park with a solo shot in the sixth inning, his 21st of the year. The Nats later added four insurance runs in the top of the ninth. One was on a Danny Espinosa ground-rule double. Pedro Severino was then walked with the bases loaded to score another before Clint Robinson brought in two more on a pinch-hit single.
Everyone in the Nats' starting lineup had at least one hit for the second time this series. Murphy, Severino and Ben Revere each had two.
The Nats have won three straight and swept the Diamondbacks for their eighth sweep of the 2016 season. They outscored Arizona 32-7 during the series and had 48 total hits.
What it means: The Nats moved to 64-44 on the year, back to 20 games over .500 for the first time since July 16. That puts them on a 96-win pace. The Marlins lost to the Cubs on Wednesday and have dropped three straight, which gives the Nats a seven-game lead in the NL East. That matches a season-high.
Scherzer tops his former team: Scherzer's day began with a leadoff walk to Michael Bourn, but after that he was lights out for most of his outing, at one point retiring 12 batters in a row before he gave up a double to David Peralta to lead off the bottom of the fifth. That was the first hit Scherzer surrendered all afternoon.
Scherzer ended up going eight innings with three earned runs allowed on four hits and one walk. He struck out 11 batters four his ninth double-digit strikeout game of this season. That ties him with Clayton Kershaw for the most in MLB this year.
Two of the runs Scherzer gave up were on homers - one to Jake Lamb, one to Yasmany Tomas - and those have been an issue for the right-hander this season, though not lately. Scherzer had only given up one home run in his previous four starts and only two in his last six outings. This was the first time he's given up at least two in one game since June 24, but the sixth time he's done so this year.
Scherzer moved to 12-6 on the season and now holds a 2.87 ERA.
Murphy hits No. 21: Murphy kept it going on Wednseday, the same day he was named NL Player of the Month for July, his second such award already season. His homer pushed to 21 on the year, which ranks first on the Nats, just ahead of Harper, who has 20.
Murphy has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games and is now 37-for-97 (.381) with nine home runs, 12 doubles and 30 RBI in his last 27 outings. That's pretty decent. Murphy's homer put the Nats up 2-1 at the time and gave him his 24th go-ahead RBI of this season, which ranks tops in the majors.
Melancon pitches again: The Nats' four-run ninth inning ruined the first chance to see Melancon in a save situation, but the new Nats closer managed a scoreless ninth inning against the Diamondbacks for the second straight game. This one was a bit more interesting, though, as he gave up a two-out double hit to Peralta, who then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Melancon then struck out Tomas to end the game.
Up next: The Nats are off Thursday before returning to Washington on Friday to host the San Francisco Giants for three games. The Nats have not announced their pitcher for the opener, but starting for the Giants will be pinch-running specialist Jeff Samardzija (9-7, 4.30). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
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