WASHINGTON – Doug Fister made quick work of the New York Mets, and that’s one reason why his teammates on the Washington Nationals provided him with ample hitting support.
Fister took a five-hit shutout into the eighth inning, Adam LaRoche homered twice and Danny Espinosa also connected as the Nationals cruised to a 7-1 victory Wednesday night.
Fister (11-3) allowed one unearned run and six hits in 7⅓ innings. He struck out seven and reduced his ERA to 2.49.
In his first season with Washington, Fister has made a positive impression with his new team by working rapidly and going after opposing hitters. The technique confounded the Mets and provided the Nationals with plenty of time to take their hacks against New York starter Jonathon Niese (5-8).
“It’s no coincidence that I feel like a lot of runs get scored when Doug pitches,” LaRoche said. “I think it’s a matter of really quick innings. He’s pitching to contact, guys are on their toes, and there’s a lot of action. Seems like when he’s pitching, we’re out there for 30 minutes on defense and spend two hours in the dugout.”
The Mets, who had faced Fister only once previously, seemingly weren’t prepared for his rapid-fire style.
“He works real quick, throws a lot of strikes, doesn’t walk anybody,” New York manager Terry Collins said.
LaRoche hit a two-run drive in the first inning and a solo shot in the eighth, his 23rd career multihomer game. Espinosa went deep with two on in the sixth and Anthony Rendon hit two doubles to help NL East-leading Washington increase its lead over sputtering Atlanta to four games.
Niese gave up a season-high six runs on eight hits in six innings. It was only the second time in his last 25 starts the left-hander yielded more than three earned runs.
Niese is 0-4 with a 5.76 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list with a left shoulder strain.
“It seemed like when I didn’t feel 100 percent, that’s when I was pitching best,” Niese said. “My arm feels a lot better so I’ve got to figure out how to pitch with that.”
Washington got all the offense it needed in a three-run first. Rendon doubled with one out, Jayson Werth hit an RBI single and LaRoche followed with his 14th home run.
Washington leadoff hitter Denard Span singled in the third to extend his streak of games reaching via a hit or walk to 32.
Phillies 10, Astros 3
In Philadelphia, Chase Utley hit a three-run homer, and Ben Revere had four hits, including a triple, to lead the Phillies over Houston.
Ryan Howard had two hits and two RBIs with a double for Philadelphia, which had scored just two runs in 35⅔ innings entering Wednesday.
David Buchanan (6-5) was called up again to replace injured starter Cliff Lee. He gave up three runs and nine hits in 6⅓ innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
Pirates 7, Marlins 3
In Pittsburgh, Josh Harrison had three hits to extend his hot streak, and Jeff Locke overcame a shaky start to pitch seven innings as the Pirates beat Miami.
Harrison hit a double and scored twice. He is 20-for-44 during a 10-game hitting streak, with six doubles, one triple and five home runs.
Rockies 13, Cubs 4
In Denver, Carlos Gonzalez homered, doubled and singled in his return to the lineup, and Colorado snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Chicago.
Corey Dickerson had four hits, drove in three and was a homer shy of the cycle. Mike McKenry also homered for the Rockies.
Giants 7, Brewers 4
In Milwaukee, Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval each drove in three runs to lead San Francisco over the hosts.
Ryan Vogelsong (7-8) gave up one run on seven hits in six innings for the Giants to win consecutive starts for the first time since May.
Reds 8, Indians 3
In Cincinnati, Mat Latos pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and chipped in with a hit as the Reds opened a seven-game homestand with a victory over Cleveland.
Zack Cozart hit a three-run homer off the left-field foul pole, and Kristopher Negron added a two-run shot as Cincinnati won for the third time in its last four games.
Red Sox 2, Cardinals 1
In St. Louis, Xander Bogaerts drove in two runs, including a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, as Boston beat the Cardinals.
Junichi Tazawa (2-3) worked a perfect eighth, and Koji Uehara worked around two hits in the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Royals 4, Diamondbacks 3
In Phoenix, Mike Moustakas homered and drove in four runs, Yordano Ventura pitched six solid innings, and Kansas City edged Arizona to win its fifth straight series.
The Royals’ Norichika Aoki was hitless in four at-bats.