Nats’ slugfest matches MLB, team records

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By David Ginsburg

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.

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