WASHINGTON -- A tumultuous start to a post-All Star break homestand threatened to derail the Washington Nationals' season.
A strong finish has them believing once again.Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam and rookie right-hander Taylor Jordan had six strong innings for his first major league win to lead the Nationals to a 14-1 rout of the New York Mets on Sunday.
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Washington won its third game in a row and fourth in five to salvage a roller-coaster 11-game homestand.It lost the first six games after the All-Star break, fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein last Monday and demoted former closer Drew Storen to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday."I think we all know what this group is capable of and what kind of people we have in here," said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, whose team won a major-league best 98 games in 2012, but entered the weekend in third place in the NL East."That's one of the biggest strengths of this team is not worrying about things that happen, good or bad."Mets right-hander Carlos Torres (1-2) could not build on his solid start last week against the Atlanta Braves.He allowed eight runs and nine hits in just three innings. Ramos had his third-inning grand slam. He ripped a 2-1 pitch into the left-field stands to cap a five-run inning.Jordan (1-3), making his sixth career start, earned his first victory. The 24-year-old held New York to five hits in six innings."I'm extremely happy," Jordan said. "For a little bit I was wondering. I go 0-4, 0-5 -- am I helping the team? Then finally just to get that one win means that I am."The Nats set season highs in runs and hits (18) and battered Torres. Ramos singled home Ian Desmond in the second inning to start the scoring. Bryce Harper followed two batters later with a two-out single on a 3-2 count that scored two more runs to make it 3-0.Zimmerman led off the third inning with a single and scored on a Desmond base hit prior to Ramos' grand slam. Zimmerman finished 3-for-4 with a double.Ramos tied a career high with five RBIs -- the second time this month he's done so. Ramos also had five RBIs on July 4 against Milwaukee. The grand slam was the first of his career."This is definitely what we envisioned coming out of spring training," said Nats outfielder Denard Span, who had four hits in a game for the first time since July 31, 2012. "Being able to score runs like this and put a lot of pressure on the other teams' (pitching)."Span, who entered the weekend without a home run since last Oct. 2, hit his second in as many days. That line drive over the fence in the sixth inning made it 13-1. Desmond reached base five times, drove in three runs and posted his third four-hit game of the year.The only Mets run came on a fourth-inning single to right by Marlon Byrd. That drove home Eric Young. Jordan struck out a career-best seven batters and walked just one.Torres, meanwhile, was gone by the third inning and New York needed four relievers to finish the game. That's far from ideal with a three-game series beginning Monday in Miami,"That's where I need to step up and eat up more innings if a situation like that arises again," Torres said. "We still need to get into the next series with a fresher bullpen than we got today."Washington is now 52-54 after falling a season-worst five games below .500 after a Game 1 loss to start a Friday doubleheader against the Mets.Jordan, who began the season at Class A Potomac, has done his part for a rotation missing left-hander Ross Detwiler, on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disc in his back. Veteran Dan Haren (5-1, 5.49) has also struggled."We continually have guys come up from our minor-league system and help us out," Zimmerman said. "I think that shows how good of a system we have and what a good job they do getting those guys ready to contribute. Taylor has kind of saved us."
Mets third baseman David Wright was not in the starting lineup for just the third time this season It was a non-injury day off, "which he certainly needs," said New York manager Terry Collins. ... Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty was taken to a local hospital before the game with what was called atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure. He was expected to remain hospitalized overnight, but will join the team in Detroit on Tuesday. . On Monday, the Mets continue an eight-game road trip with the start of a three-game series in Miami against the last-place Marlins. ... RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.17) pitches for New York against RHP Jacob Turner (3-3, 2.49). ... The Mets are 3-8 against the Marlins this season. ... The Nationals are off on Monday. They begin a five-game road trip on Tuesday in Detroit. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-8, 2.85) starts for Washington against RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 2.68).
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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-run RBI single in the second...