- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche agreed there’s something to the theory that hitting is contagious.

If so, it looks as if there’s suddenly an epidemic on the Nationals.

Anthony Rendon went 4 for 5 and hit one of four Washington home runs, and Doug Fister allowed four hits in six innings, sending the Nationals to a 10-2 rout of the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

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LaRoche, Jose Lobaton and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also homered.

“We’ve seen that a bunch,” LaRoche said when asked if good hitting can spread through a team. “We saw stretches of it last year where we would do this and say ‘here we go.’

“This was huge to build off of, to know that we can go out there and get more than five or six hits a game and just keep pouring it on,” LaRoche said. “That’s what the really good teams do.”

Washington has racked up 24 runs and 42 hits in its last three games, winning two straight to climb back to .500.

Fister (3-1) allowed two runs and retired the first 10 Texas batters. He’s 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts, with 21 strikeouts and two walks.

He came in with a 5.67 career ERA against the Rangers, but didn’t give up a hit until Elvis Andrus doubled in the fourth.

“He’s got the ability to work quickly, which certainly helps your defense,” manager Matt Williams said. “They expect the ball to be put in play.”

The defense helped Fister in the second when Rendon made stellar backhand play at third and threw out Adrian Beltre.

“That’s a great play, probably the most difficult one over there,” said Williams, a former third baseman. “It’s the high chopper that you can’t come get, that you have to give on and he goes down to his knees to stop himself and turn and throw. It’s difficult because there is no momentum involved.”

Rendon said: “I don’t know. I just threw it. It happened to go to (LaRoche).”

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (2-1) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He had won two straight, but didn’t make it past the second inning Saturday.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rendon lined Tepesch’s pitch into the Rangers bullpen for his sixth home run. He had six straight hits over two days before striking out in the eighth.

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