Washington Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon knew he was a triple short of the cycle late in the game. It didn’t mean he was going to change his approach.
Rendon singled in a run, hit a three-run homer, and doubled in his first three at-bats before grounding out and flying out in the Nationals 11-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.
"I heard people in the stands, `get the triple, get the triple.’ I didn’t want that, means I’ve got to run more. I’ll stop at second base," Rendon said with a smile.
He drove in four runs to back Jordan Zimmermann’s seven shutout innings.
"I think it set the tone with Anthony in the first inning," manager Matt Williams said of the offense. "You’ve got a 3-1 pitch and he doesn’t get too big. He simply stayed with the approach of what he needed to have happen there and he ended up getting a base hit."
The Nationals hitters had been struggling in the nine games since Ryan Zimmerman went on the disabled list.
Saturday they had 14 hits, including two apiece by Denard Span, Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilson Ramos. Every Nationals starter, including Zimmermann, hit safely.
Zimmermann (7-5) held the Phillies to five singles and struck eight without a walk for his 50th career win, and first since June 30th.
He retired the last 11 batters he faced and left after throwing 97 pitches.
Marlon Byrd had two hits for Philadelphia, which had won the first two games of the series 10-4 and 2-1.
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (6-11) and manager Ryne Sandberg didn’t last long. Both were ultimately ejected when Burnett motioned and yelled toward home plate umpire Chris Guccione during Washington’s four-run second inning.
Washington loaded the bases on two walks and an error. After Span drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Rendon connected on a 3-1 pitch from Burnett for his 14th home run, making it 5-0.
Rendon’s blast snapped a nine-game homerless streak for the Nationals, the longest in team history (2005-present).
Burnett, who had two walks in the inning, then intentionally threw ball one to Jayson Werth and motioned toward Guccione.
"I did ask him twice in the first and second if that was out or that was down," Burnett said of Guccione. "Yeah, it was out, it was down, okay. And the one I threw purposefully out, I said the same thing, but I said it more of a statement than a question. I said `That’s out.’ That was it, pretty quick trigger."
After Burnett was tossed, Sandberg raced out and heatedly argued with Guccione near home plate, and was soon ejected.
Burnett allowed five runs, one was earned, in losing his third straight decision.
Phillies: Sandberg said outfielder Domonic Brown, suffering from strep throat, is day-to-day, and that Byrd has been playing with a bruised right foot for four or five days.
Phillies: Cole Hamels (6-5, 2.55) has won four straight decisions. He makes his 30th career start against Washington Sunday. He’s 15-6 with a 2.63 ERA versus the Nationals.
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.55) is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in three home starts against the Phillies dating back to last season.
WILLIAMS SAYS SWING AWAY
In addition to experimenting with his batting stance recently, Bryce Harper has also on occasion attempted to bunt for a hit. Williams would generally prefer Harper swing away.
"Depends on the situation," Williams said. "It depends on a lot of things, health, how his thumb is feeling. It depends on what the situation dictates for that particular game. More often than not, I would like to see him swing the bat. Because he just has the opportunity to do something special.
"If he feels like the guy’s playing him back far enough that he can do that and get on base, given the right situation, okay. But then again, there’s times where I want him to swing, too," said Williams, adding he and Harper have talked about it.
Harper is enjoying more success recently, and is 7-for-his-last-23.