On a night when the Washington Nationals had a chance to get back above the .500 mark for the first time in two months, Bryce Harper busted through a career milestone.
In the top of the first inning, the Nationals had Denard Span on third after the center fielder singled to lead off the game. Harper then stepped to the plate and knocked a single into right field which scored Span. For Harper, it was his 100th career RBI.
Harper went on to finish the night 2-for-4 with a run scored to go along with his RBI-single. The Nationals pulled to a game above .500 and won their fifth straight after beating the Kansas City Royals 7-2.
More important than Harper’s milestone RBI was the ability for the Nationals, as a team, to collect RBI. The team that has had a reoccurring problem of leaving runners in scoring position did a good job of moving guys around the bases and scoring them.
Five players – Harper, Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond, Tyler Moore and Chad Tracey – all collected at least one RBI with Desmond and Tracy both batting in two runs. Overall, the Nationals were 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left just three men on base throughout the course of the night.
For once, the Nationals weren’t a victim of not being able to string hits together. Their opponents, the Royals, were just 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded a whopping eight runners on the bags.
Things are beginning to turn around for the Nationals. While they haven’t made up much ground in the playoff chase (they were still 12.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves and eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds at the time this article was written), they are doing their part to give themselves the best chance. Simply put, they are winning.
Twice this August have the Nationals gone on a five-game winning streak, the second streak being their current one. Should the Nationals defeat the Royals Sunday and complete the series sweep, it would be their longest win streak of the season. Almost as impressive as the streak is that a Nationals win Sunday would mean they end the road trip by going 7-3.
While they still need a lot of help to get to the postseason, something that seems more and more distant as the season wears on, they are doing all that they can to help their chances. Sunday they send Dan Haren to the mound looking to win their sixth straight and end the road trip with a sweep.