As the Washington Nationals take on the host Kansas City Royals on Saturday, the Nationals will try to keep their offense rolling.
Washington is hitting its stride with 38 runs in its last six games; the Nats have won four of those games. The club has hit .330 during that span and is getting production from all parts of the batting order.
Lane Thomas homered to lead off Friday's 12-10 win at Kansas City. He has reached safely in a career-high 22 straight games, hitting safely in 20 of the 22 and batting .330 (30-for-91) with seven homers, 20 runs and 15 RBIs.
Over his last 17 games, Joey Meneses is hitting .375 (27-for-72) with eight extra-base hits and 18 RBIs.
Jeimer Candelario is hitting .409 (18-for-44) with nine extra-base hits, nine runs and eight RBIs over his last 11 games.
Topping all of them, Luis Garcia has five multi-hit games in his last 10, and he matched a franchise record with a career-best six hits Friday.
Garcia and Nationals manager Dave Martinez attribute their success to a focus on hitting the ball through the middle.
"My whole approach, every at-bat, is to try to stay up the middle and go the other way as well," Garcia said.
"We tried to stay in the middle of the field," Martinez said. "Started trying to get the ball up a little bit, and then we did a good job of just staying aggressive, staying in the middle of the field, hitting line drives."
Washington will try to stay hot offensively against Royals right-hander Brady Singer (3-4, 7.48 ERA), who has never pitched against the Nationals. Only Candelario, while with the Detroit Tigers, has ever faced Singer, with four hits in 15 at-bats.
Nationals right-hander Josiah Gray (4-5, 2.65) will take the mound for the first time against Kansas City. None of the current Royals' hitters has faced Gray.
While Kansas City hitters had a big night Friday, they have struggled to hit in clutch situations while losing 10 of 13. The Royals scored fewer than three runs in five of those losses, including a pair of shutouts.
Before getting five hits in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Royals had a .224 batting average in those situations and ranked 27th in the majors, and they've hit .207 in scoring situations over the last 13 games.
Salvador Perez has owned the most potent bat for the Royals this year, and six of his team-leading 11 homers have either tied the game or given Kansas City the lead. Perez has eight homers in May, one shy of the club record for the month set by Gary Gaetti in 1995.
Prior to Friday's game, Kansas City activated outfielder Drew Waters from the 10-day injured list; Nate Eaton was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Waters had been sidelined since suffering a strained left oblique early in spring training. He hit .327 in 13 rehab games for Omaha and was immediately inserted into the Royals' lineup on Friday, batting ninth, where he collected a pair of hits and scored twice.
"Last year I had to wait a couple of days for the first (hit)," Waters said. "So, obviously, it's good to get the first ones out of the way."
--Field Level Media