BALTIMORE—The good news was the Washington Nationals split their four-game weekend road series with the San Diego. But the better story was what they did in the series finale with the Padres on June 9.
Washington hit four consecutive home runs by Howie Kendrick, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon in the eighth inning. The streak helped the Nats to a 5-2 victory over the Padres in the series finale.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” Washington Manager Dave Martinez said during postgame. “I liked the first one, for sure; that put us ahead. And then it was wow…wow…wow and wow.”
Kendrick was pinch-hitting for starter Stephen Strasburg when he snapped a 1-1 tie with his solo homer. Turner, Eaton and Rendon each followed with their solo blasted that gave Washington a 5-1 lead.
The Nationals needed only seven pitches to put on this power display. It became the ninth time in major league history that a team has hit four straight homers – and Washington’s done it twice, the last time coming in 2017.
The two wins over the weekend brought the Nationals to 30-35 but they are still seven games out of first place in the National League East.
Spirit duo score in Women’s World Cup
Washington Spirit players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh combined for three goals as the United States Women’s National Team thrashed Thailand 13-0 in their opening 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup match on June 11.
With the U.S. already up by a goal, Lavelle took a quick pass from teammate Alex Morgan and released a low-driven shot. Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying tried to make the save by getting a hand on the ball.
However, the power in the chance was too much as it blew past Charoenying’s hands into the net.
Just 11 minutes after halftime, the Cincinnati, Ohio native appeared again, tapping in her second goal before she was subbed out for midfielder Carli Lloyd.
Pugh came on as a substitute to make her first appearance in a Women’s World Cup and with six minutes remaining in the match, she finished off a counterattack to score the United States’ 11th goal of the game.
Both Pugh and Lavelle will be critical to the Stars and Stripes offense alongside some of the team’s veterans whenever they are on the field.
The United States will take on Chile in their second game in group play on June 16.
Mystics win fourth straight
The Washington Mystics stretched their winning streak to four with two victories last weekend.
The most recent was an 86-62 win over the Dallas Wings on June 9 at home. Five players scored in double figures, led by Tianna Hawkins’ 21 points plus 18 from Aerial Powers.
Dallas actually held a 20-15 lead after the first quarter, but the Mystics (4-1) took charge after that. They held a 40-34 halftime lead and then broke the game open in the second half.
Elena Delle Donne added 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Kristi Toliver finished with 14 points and six assists.
“It’s a luxury to have multiple players that can do multiple things and set up for you,” Toliver said. “You don’t want one or two people having to carry the load for 34 games; that’s going to wear you down when it matters the most.”
Washington also needed to overcome a slow start two days earlier when it defeated the New York Liberty 94-85 on the road.
Natasha Cloud posted a career-high 26 points as the Mystics trailed for a big part of the first half before finally taking the lead. Cloud also had eight assists, and Washington helped its cause by making 27 of 28 free throws.
Orioles improving in loss
With a rebuilding roster, the Baltimore Orioles are arguably one of the worst team in baseball at this time.
However, they have certainly been playing better lately, like last weekend in Houston.
The Astros took two out of three from Baltimore, but it was not easy. Houston had to go to into extra innings on June 7 to win before the Orioles scored a 4-1 victory the following day and lost the series finale.
For the Orioles, the better starting pitching has been crucial.
The team went long stretches where they could not get a starter past – or sometimes into – the fifth inning.
Baltimore’s starting pitching had come up with five straight quality starts through the June 9 loss, which has delighted Manager Brandon Hyde.
“I love the way our starters are throwing the ball and getting deep in the game,” Hyde said after the Sunday loss. “I thought it was our best series of the year from a pitching standpoint.”
Andrew Cashner has been consistent. Dylan Bundy has pitched sharply for a month, and John Means has been a pleasant surprise all season.
The Orioles need more pitching like this on a regular basis. They will be more competitive if they get it.”