Suzuki delivers three singles in Nationals’ win
WASHINGTON – Davey Johnson isn’t shaving his scruffy beard, even after the Washington Nationals finally put on the offensive show he was longing to see.
Adam LaRoche homered twice and drove in four runs, Kurt Suzuki matched a season high with three hits and the Nationals beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 on Tuesday.
LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina homered off Kevin Gausman, and LaRoche added a solo shot in the eighth off Troy Patton.
It added up to Washington’s highest-scoring performance since a 10-3 win over the Miami Marlins on April 15.
Suzuki finished 3-for-4 with three singles and a run. The Baldwin High School graduate has reached base in 15 of his last 16 games.
Johnson began growing the beard last week and said he wouldn’t remove it until the Nationals broke out of their hitting slump – now it appears he won’t shave for fear of jinxing a team on a roll.
“It was great,” Johnson said of the hitting attack. “Some guys that usually take two or three strikes went up there and hit line drives.”
And then, rubbing his gray beard, he added, “Maybe this is working.”
Moore said: “It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it? I hope he looks like Santa at the end of the year if we keep winning.”
Zach Duke (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings of perfect relief for the win.
Washington’s Nathan Karns gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings in his major league debut.
The Nationals played a second consecutive game without Bryce Harper, out with a knee injury, and Johnson acknowledged, “I probably was being optimistic thinking he could DH over in Baltimore (today and Thursday). It’s probably not looking good for that.”
Gausman (0-2) gave up seven runs in four innings. The No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft has an 11.00 ERA this year, and opponents are batting .385 against him.
“Pitching in the big leagues is hard. He’s got the talent to do it and eventually he will,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “I look forward to it being next time out. He knows mistakes get magnified here. But it’s part of the process.”