The Washington Nationals came out slugging on Sunday, adding another win and looking like a team that can win a world championship


With home run power coming off the bats of Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Danny Espinosa, the Nationals crushed the San Francisco Giants 14-6 for their ninth win in 10 games during their homestand.

Washington entered this week with 15 victories in its last 18 games, and an 8-2-1 record in its last 11 series. The Nationals were 21 games over .500 at 75-54, enjoying an eight-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East.

They also had five walk-off wins in six games during their homestand.

“This was a great homestand,” said Scott Hairston. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. I think it’s safe to say nobody has. And it’s a lot of fun.”

In Sunday’s game, Washington scored six runs on eight hits in the sixth inning, tying for their most hits in an inning since arriving in D.C. from Montreal nine years ago.

The Nationals started their string of walk-off wins on Aug. 16, beating Pittsburgh 4-3 on Wilson Ramos’s ground-rule double in the ninth inning. They had trailed 3-0 in the eighth before Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer to tie the game.

“They believe that they can come back, they believe that they can string hits together and we can score runs, and that’s a good thing to have,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “That belief system is good.”

Washington won the next day 6-5 in 11 innings over the Pirates on Scott Hairston’s sacrifice fly. In the first game of a series against Arizona last week, LaRoche won it in the 11th with a solo home run in a 5-4 decision.

It was LaRoche’s first career walk-off homer.

“I got every bit of it…it’s nice to get my first one,” the 34-year-old LaRoche said. “Just a crazy few days. I don’t know how we’ve gotten these walk-off situations the last few days, but we have and have been able to grind back.”

The Nationals got yet another walk-off victory on Aug. 20, when pinch-hitter Anthony Rendon singled home Bryce Harper in the ninth for a 3-2 win.

“It’s absolutely epic,” Harper said. “It’s been incredible. This team has a lot of fight, a lot of heart.”

Washington’s fifth win in its last at-bat during a six-game stretch came in the series finale against the Diamondbacks when Denard Span scored the game’s only run from second base on a throwing error by third baseman Jordan Pacheco in the ninth.

It was the Nationals 10th straight win, tying a franchise record set in June 2005. The club’s five walk-off wins in a six-game span made it the first time a team has done that since the Houston Astros in 1986, and the seventh team overall to accomplish it, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Giants ended Washington’s streak on Friday with a 10-3 win before the Nationals won the last two games of the series by a combined 20-8 margin in runs.

Washington, which ranks fourth in the NL with 540 runs scored and leads the NL with a 3.07 ERA, began a nine-game road trip this week with visits to Philadelphia, Seattle and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

StatsWatch: Here’s a list of the top hitters in the major leagues, through Sunday’s games.

  • Jose Altuve, Astros, .334
  • Victor Martinez, Tigers, .328
  • Adrian Beltre, Rangers, .327
  • Robinson Cano, Mariners, .326
  • Justin Morneau, Rockies, .314
  • Ben Revere, Phillies, .314
  • Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays, .311
  • Michael Brantley, Indians, .311
  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, .308
  • Jose Abreu, White Sox, .308

Diamond Notes: Oakland A’s closer Sean Doolittle was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal. Doolittle has 20 saves and a 2.28 ERA in 54 relief appearances…Texas traded catcher Geovany Soto to the Athletics over the weekend for cash. Soto, plagued by injuries this season, hit .237 with a homer and three RBIs in 10 games with the Rangers.

Copyright © 2014  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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