Rendon worked Maeda to a 2-2 count over a half-dozen pitches, and then on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, ripped a 91 mph fastball deep into the left-center field stands for a two-run home run.
The blast would prove to supply the winning runs in what would ultimately become an 8-3 Nationals victory at Chavez Ravine, putting Washington up by two games to one in the NLDS.
In a lineup that includes high-profile 2015 NL MVP Harper, franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman, veteran postseason hero Jayson Werth, and 2015 postseason star Daniel Murphy, Rendon can often get lost, especially to the average baseball fan.
But ask any Nationals player and fan, and they will tell you that the 26-year-old Rendon is a key to any success that the team enjoys.
In Friday night’s series opener at Nationals Park, a 4-3 victory for the Dodgers, Rendon went 2-4 and drove in two of the Nats’ three runs.
After getting off to a slow start this season, Rendon hit for a .295/.359/.515 slash line with 11 homers and 52 RBI over the final 67 games as the Nationals won the NL East for the third time in five years.
“I think just trying to stay within myself, trying not to do too much, and just trying to put the barrel on the ball like I’ve been taught ever since I was younger. I guess just staying within myself,” said Rendon following Tuesday’s game per Chelsea Janes at The Washington Post.
Rendon had 21 homers and 83 RBI, scored 111 runs, and stole 17 bases back in the 2014 season when he finished fifth in National League MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger.
During the Nationals’ four-game defeat at the hands of the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the NLDS that season, Rendon hit .368, so he has shown that he can produce when the stakes go up in October baseball.
With power and speed offensively, and one of the best defensive gloves and arms in the game at the hot corner, Rendon is indeed a difference maker. He showed it on Tuesday, and if the Nationals advance, he is likely to keep on showing it.