The Washington Nationals cruised to an 11-5 blowout win over the lowly Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. The offense exploded early on, chasing rookie starter Chris Rusin in the second inning of his second MLB start. The Cubs bullpen didn't fare much better, as the Nats finished the evening with six homers and 19 hits. The offense has been red-hot since returning home last week but the six homers tied a record since the franchise relocated to DC.
Everyone in the Nationals lineup got in on the act on Tuesday but Adam LaRoche continued his hot streak with a 4-4 evening. LaRoche launched two solo homers, grooving one to center and one to right. His second shot in the 8th wrapped up the 11-run evening as he effortlessly launched it 15 rows deep into the right-field seats. He's now three homers shy of 30 and also closing in on 100 RBIs.
In addition to LaRoche, lead-off hitter Jayson Werth also posted a four-hit night. Werth had three singles and a double, driving in one and scoring two more. Ian Desmond, Jesus Flores, Tyler Moore and Ryan Zimmerman joined LaRoche in going deep during the parade of hits. Moore's two-run blast came just two batters after LaRoche took Rafael Dolls deep in the fourth. Zimmerman led off the sixth with a drive to center that pushed the lead to 9-4.
With the big lead early in the game, starter Edwin Jackson settled in and simply tried to pound the zone. He struck out eight in 5.2 innings, giving way to Christian Garcia in the sixth after the Cubs put together a three-run rally. Jackson improved to 9-9 with the win.
The win combined with a Braves loss on Tuesday pushed Washington's lead to 7.5 games in the standings. Gio Gonzalez will take the hill on Wednesday as the Nats try to clinch the four-game series.