MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Desmond, role players deliver crucial hits

Shortstop belts two-run homer; Robinson, Taylor each drive in a run

Desmond, role players deliver crucial hits

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals received timely hitting during their 7-0 victory over the Braves on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.

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Shortstop Ian Desmond led the charge with two hits, including a two-run homer in the third inning off right-hander Matt Wisler. Desmond picked up his second hit in the eighth inning, a leadoff single up the middle.

Manager Matt Williams is hoping that Desmond's performance is a sign that he is getting out of his slump.

"He stayed on a fastball away and hit it over the fence," Williams said. "I'm happy for him that he was able to hit that homer. The ball back through the middle are really good signs. It means he's staying on it and seeing it good. I hope that'll get him hot and get him rolling."

The Nationals' bench is getting a chance to play often because of injuries to regulars. Players such as Clint Robinson and Michael Taylor took advantage of the situation Thursday and had RBI hits.

Robinson's RBI single stands

"It's not the way we planned it, for sure," Williams said. "It's important for us to get them as many reps as we can, whether it's off the bench for a pinch-hit in a crucial situation or if somebody is getting a day and get them in there for four [at-bats]. They played well."

Getting playing time seems to be working for Robinson and Taylor. During the homestand, Taylor went 9-for-27 (.333). In his last 11 games, Robinson has gone 12-for-37 (.324) with two home runs and six RBIs.

Taylor's RBI double

"We're a team here," Robinson said. "It's not about one guy going out there and jumping on his back. We have to pick each other up. You have to contribute from all other places. It's a long season. It's not about one guy. It's about 25 of us. We have to go out and do our jobs as well."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.