Goes 2-for-2 with homer, double, 2 RBIs and two walks
By Jacob Emert
WASHINGTON -- Somewhere in the middle of his pregame media session on Saturday, Nationals manager Matt Williams, stoic and reserved as ever, acknowledged that Anthony Rendon's breakthrough might not be far off.
"He hasn't had that crispness to his swing as of yet. That can all start tonight," Williams said before Washington's 6-1 win over Milwaukee. "Once he gets that feeling going, it can be a lot of them on an given day."
That breakthrough, it turned out, came in the form of a home run, a double and two walks only a few hours later.
"I felt the same," Rendon said after the game, acknowledging there was no change, large or small, in his approach. "That's the funny part of it."
A reigning National League Silver Slugger Award winner, Rendon entered Saturday 17-for-85 (.200) since returning from the disabled list on July 25, and he stayed there through his first two at-bats, drawing a pair of walks.
"Everyone goes through those stretches," Rendon said. "Everyone you talk to in this game, old coaches, old teammates, old players, whatnot, they all have those, 'Oh, I was 0-for-25, I was 0-for-30 one time." I just try to not to get it that far, get it to that point and take it one at-bat as a time."
Free bases came as Rendon refused to expand the zone, watching everything off the plate, the first key to success at the plate.
In his third at-bat, he saw only two pitches. He smoked the first strike into the left-field corner, plating his first RBI since Aug. 2. He added to it in the seventh, hammering a 1-2 pitch into the Brewers' bullpen, collecting his first multi-hit game since the same early August meeting with the Mets.
"Better timing," Williams said after the game, citing the cause for Rendon's success. "The fastball he hit for the homer and the fastball he hit the line for the double just means that his timing is right. He's not getting beat with those pitches. So it's getting better and better as the days go by. For him, it's a matter of time."
With his offensive night successfully completed, Rendon made one last contribution to the Nationals' winning cause. Playing third base instead of second in place of an injured Yunel Escobar, Rendon made a highlight-reel catch for the game's fina out, diving with full extension to his left to rob Jean Segura of a hit.
That, though, didn't feel nearly as good.
"Not when I landed," he said.
Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.