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Rendon has four hits in Nationals' win

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- The month of May has been a rough one at the plate for Anthony Rendon, the regular third baseman for the Washington Nationals.

He had a strong April but entered play Saturday hitting .156 in his previous 12 games, but he ended the month on a high note with four hits, including his sixth homer, as the Nationals beat the Texas Rangers 10-2 on Saturday.

"I felt good. It went my way today," said Rendon, who raised his average to .268.

Washington had been struggling before the Texas series but has put up 19 runs and 27 hits in the past two games against the Rangers. Does Rendon, in his second big league season, buy into the hitting-is-contagious theory?

"I have been playing baseball a long time. That is how it always happens," Rendon said.

"I think it is more relaxation. Once they relax then their true talent comes out," Washington manager Matt Williams said.

Rendon had plenty of help Saturday, as starting pitcher Doug Fister won his third straight start and the Nationals blasted four homers -- a solo shot by Rendon in the first, a two-run long ball by catcher Jose Lobaton in the second, a three-run homer by first baseman Adam LaRoche (two hits) in the fourth and a pinch-hit, two-run shot by Scott Hairston in the sixth.

"It doesn't change my approach" Fister said of the early run support. "I have seen a few of those guys (with Texas) before. It is still a matter of going out there and executing.

"We went out there and played hard-nosed baseball. Guys were turning double plays. Everybody was working together."

Winning pitcher Fister (3-1) retired the first 10 batters before Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus had a clean double with one out in the fourth. The right-hander, acquired from Detroit in a trade in December, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings before Craig Stammen came on in the seventh.

"He is the same guy I saw in Seattle and Detroit," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Fister. "He used all of his pitches."

LaRoche gave the Nationals an 8-0 lead in the fourth when he crushed a three-run homer to right against Baker, who took over for starter and loser Nick Tepesch (2-1) in the third.

"He was going deep in counts. He had a tough day," Washington said of Tepesch.

Washington scored four runs in the second against Tepesch, as Lobaton hit a two-run homer and right fielder Jayson Werth had an RBI double. The fourth run scored on an error by Texas left fielder Shin-Soo Choo following the Werth double to make it 5-0.

Texas finally got on the board with a bloop RBI double to right in the fifth by Rougned Odor, whose hit scored right fielder Alex Rios to make it 8-1. The Rangers made it 8-2 in the sixth on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland, the first baseman.

Tepesch lasted just two innings Saturday and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and threw 62 pitches. Baker gave up five runs in five innings.

NOTES: It was the first time in 13 contests that the Rangers were not leading at some point in the game. ... The Rangers entered Saturday scoring 6.18 runs per day game, nearly a run better than the next closest team -- the San Francisco Giants at 5.24. ... Texas LHP Joe Saunders, who started Wednesday and threw five scoreless innings at Minnesota, graduated from West Springfield (Va.) High, about 30 minutes from Nationals Park, and he expects to have family at the games this weekend. "He has been huge for us. He threw the ball well in his last start," said Texas 1B Mitch Moreland ... The scheduled starters for the series finale Sunday are Texas RHP Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35 ERA) against Washington RHP Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.47), who was drafted by Texas in 2008. Darvish skipped his start Tuesday due to neck stiffness but said Friday, through an interpreter, he was fine ... Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman (right thumb fracture) was 0-for-3 as a DH in his first rehab game on Friday for Single-A Potomac. He has been on the disabled list since April 13 and is slated to play again Saturday night for host Potomac against Salem and will play left field for five innings, according to Washington manager Matt Williams. Zimmerman could play third base, first base or left field when he joins the Nationals, perhaps early next week, according to Williams. Saturday will mark the first pro appearance for Zimmerman in left.
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