July 1, 2022

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Nats pile up 22 hits, emphatically snap skid

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SAN FRANCISCO — Eight was enough for the Nationals.

They began their three-city road trip on Friday with a 14-4 win over the Giants at Oracle Park, emphatically snapping an eight-game losing streak that began on April 20 during which they had been outscored 49-16. They scored the most runs since July 7, 2021, and collected the most hits (22) since May 14, 2021.

Manager Dave Martinez attested the Nationals were close to snapping their skid. If they stopped chasing outside the zone, the exit velocity on their contact was already there. Players who had been struggling were putting in extra work in the cage, too. And as for Juan Soto, once he began staying on the ball, Martinez commented on Thursday, “you’ll start seeing Juan become the Juan that we see all the time.”

“We’ve got to have some kind of consistency throughout our lineup,” Martinez said pregame. “We’ve got to have that one inning where we get something going that we drive in runs.”

The Nats got that one burst, and then some. They plated at least one run in five innings, scored multiple runs in four innings, broke the game open with a four-run sixth and sealed the win with a five-run eighth.

Soto got Washington’s offense going with a Statcast-projected 409-foot solo home run to center field in the opening frame. It was his fourth dinger of the season and first since April 16 when he landed a shot in the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. Soto has gone yard in 21 Major League parks.

Friday was a turnaround moment for several players who entered the game searching for offensive production, including the bottom third of the order. Victor Robles, Lane Thomas and Alcides Escobar came into Friday batting .152, .185 and .123, respectively. Robles, Josh Bell and Maikel Franco led all players with four hits. César Hernández and Escobar added three apiece, and Soto and Thomas collected a pair.

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