Nats’ slugfest matches MLB, team records
WASHINGTON » The Nationals staged their own version of Home Run Derby, with Michael Blazek serving as the unwilling batting practice pitcher.
Washington tied a franchise record with eight home runs and matched two majorleague marks during a prolific third inning that highlighted a 15-2 pounding of the fading Brewers on Thursday.
Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each homered twice for the Nationals, who banged out 19 hits while reaching double figures in runs for the 18th time this season.
“We have a lineup that can do some special things,” Harper said. “Anything can happen.”
Washington equaled two big-league records in a seven-run third inning: most consecutive home runs (four) and most homers in an inning (five).
“We had a big offensive barrage today,” manager Dusty Baker said, understating the obvious.
All of the home runs in the third inning were hit off Blazek (0-1), who was making his first majorleague start after 108 appearances in relief.
“I felt like I made some decent pitches, but they were locked in on everything,” the righthander said. “It’s not how I pictured it going.”
He could have hardly imagined becoming the first pitcher in baseball history to allow five home runs in one inning.
Only five other majorleague teams hit five homers in one inning, a remarkable feat that had not occurred since Milwaukee did it in 2006. Washington became the eighth team to hit four in a row, the first since Arizona in 2010.
After Harper connected in the first inning, Brian Goodwin started the longball party in the third with a two-run drive after Blazek walked Washington’s starting pitcher, Max Scherzer.
“The last thing I wanted to do was lead off the inning with a walk, especially to a pitcher,” Blazek said. “It just kept building and building from there.”
Wilmer Difo, Harper and Zimmerman followed with long home runs.
The streak was interrupted when Daniel Murphy flied out, after which some of the fans at Nationals Park reacted with good-natured booing.