Sep 21, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
When a team scores 13 runs in a game, there are usually plenty of contributors, and that was the case for the Nationals in their win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. But two players in particular – Yunel Escobar and Tyler Moore, who combined for seven RBI – stood out above all.
Escobar recorded his fourth four-hit game of the season on Sunday. It was his 13th game with three hits or more in 130 total games. That means he’s had three hits or more in 10 percent of the games he’s played this season.
This performance raised his season batting average from .319 to .324, good for fourth in the National League. Bryce Harper remains in first at .343, but Escobar is not far behind.
Escobar’s biggest hit was a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. He powered a line drive into the gap in right-center field to score Trea Turner, Stephen Strasburg and Michael Taylor.
“His secret to success is the ball hit to right-center field,” manager Matt Williams said. “When he’s going well, that’s what he does. Got a couple of them back through the middle today. Just a really good game. But for him, the ball to right-center is indicative of him seeing the ball well and staying on it.”
This is by some measures the best season of Escobar’s nine-year MLB career. It’s not only coming at the age of 32, but also in his first season with the Nats, who traded for him this past winter.
“He’s not thinking too much about numbers or looking at his stats,” Escobar said through a translator. “He’s just going out there, playing the game and having fun and leaves everything up to God. Whatever falls, it’s been fortunate that things have been going well for him.”
Escobar continued to explain how he is in a good state mentally and that, he believes, comes from a strong winter of training.
“He’s playing with a clean mind. He prepared himself real well this offseason, playing real relaxed. He said that’s why it’s leading to him having a good year,” translator Octavio Martinez relayed from Escobar.
For Moore, the credit goes in part to an increase in playing time. Moore got starts on back-to-back days this weekend and homered in both games. His home run on Sunday as a three-run bomb to left field off Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino.
Before Saturday, Moore hadn’t homered in a game since June 12, a span of 47 appearances. Him getting regular playing time surely hasn’t hurt.
“The more he plays, the more rhythm he gets,” Williams said.
“It feels good. Just to come in and play and be out there with my teammates,” Moore added. “It was a fun, good atmosphere out there and two good wins for us.”
Moore’s three appearances prior to Saturday were either as a defensive replacement, pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. He was happy to make a larger contribution this weekend.
“Any time you get that opportunity, it’s fun to get a couple of knocks or drive a guy in or do something small to help us out,” he said.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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