Drew rising to occasion with Nationals

Drew rising to occasion with Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were thrilled this offseason when Stephen Drew decided to re-sign with the team, despite the fact that he says he had other offers for a starting job. He liked Washington and had grown close to the members of the Nationals' bench.

And each time he has been called upon, he has filled his role perfectly. The latest came in Monday's 14-6 victory over the Cardinals, Drew's first game filling in at shortstop for the injured Trea Turner, who was placed on the disabled list with a right-hamstring strain. Drew went 3-for-4 with a double, drove in four runs and started a key double play to help the Nationals escape a jam.

"I think that goes to show how much he likes this team and how much he thinks we have an opportunity to win," Bryce Harper said about Drew re-signing with the Nats. "What a great teammate and person on and off the field. No better guy that you want to root for every single night, so loved seeing him go out there and do what he did tonight."

With the bases loaded and the Nats trailing in the fifth inning, Drew made a diving stop on a grounder from Jhonny Peralta and made the throw to second base to start an inning-ending double play. Peralta was initially ruled safe at first -- "You can kind of see my reaction," Drew said, "When he called him safe, I was like 'No way.'"

But a replay review overturned the call and the Nationals escaped the threat.

Drew starts DP after challenge

"I played with Stephen five, six years ago when we were with Arizona and that reminded me of him back in the Arizona days," center fielder Adam Eaton said. "Sometimes those big plays are the spark. When that play happened, you could just feel the momentum kind of catch fire on our side. It's such a cool feeling. It starts with the fans. As soon as that happens you can just like feel the tidal wave come from behind us and kind of pushes us there. It begins to materialize in some runs and it took off from there."

Drew then promptly doubled to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at that point for the Nationals.

Drew's RBI double in the 5th

He contributed again during a seven-run eighth inning with a two-run single to mark the first time he has driven in four runs in a game since Aug. 30, 2015. Each of Drew's three hits on the night were struck with 95+ mph exit velocity, as measured by Statcast™. It's the first time he's had a game with three such hits in the Statcast™ Era.

"We've got a long ways to go," Drew said. "But it's good to come out here tonight and do what we did tonight after Philly. So we're going to take the night and soak it in and come ready to play tomorrow."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.