ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Wilson Ramos had a most unique multihomer game.
Ramos homered twice off position players, Bryce Harper and Clint Robinson also went deep, and the Washington Nationals routed the Tampa Bay Rays 16-4 on Tuesday night.
“We had a lot fun as a team,” Harper said.
With the game out of reach, Rays manager Kevin Cash used infielders Jake Elmore and Nick Franklin to pitch the final two innings. Ramos hit a solo shot against Elmore in the eighth and added a two-run drive off Franklin in the ninth to finish with four RBIs.
“The last two at-bats, I was very, very relaxed at the plate,” he said. “I just used my hands to hit the ball. I was waiting for a good pitch and that’s the position I need to be with the regular pitcher. I need to see those videos because those two at-bats will help me. That made me feel good.”
When asked if Elmore or Franklin was more effective, Cash said “You’d have to ask Wilson Ramos.”
Harper hit his 22nd homer this season and finished a triple shy of the cycle with a walk. His long solo shot to center off C.J. Riefenhauser during a four-run fifth that gave Washington a 10-0 lead. The ball landed on protective netting near a fish tank that is home to a group of cownose rays.
Robinson had a leadoff homer among his four hits and added an RBI double off Alex Colome during a six-run second inning that put the Nationals up 6-0.
Danny Espinosa had a career-high five hits and was hit by a pitch from Franklin, but he was the only Washington starter not to have an RBI.
Tanner Roark (3-2) allowed one run and six hits over seven innings.
Yunel Escobar drove in three runs, one of eight Washington starters driving in at least one run.
The Nationals’ 23 hits were the most since relocating to Washington in 2005, and the most in franchise history since the Montreal Expos had 26 on May 7, 1997, at San Francisco.
“Everybody contributed,” Washington manager Matt Williams said.
Colome (3-3) gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks over two innings as Tampa Bay lost for just the fifth time in 17 games.
Rene Rivera hit a three-run homer in the ninth for the Rays.
ampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria had two hits one day after leaving with a bruised left wrist, the result of being hit by a pitch Monday in the fifth inning.
Franklin pinch-hit for Longoria in the fifth with the Rays down 10-1. Joey Butler had a run-scoring grounder earlier in the inning.
Cash said Longoria is fine and that he was removed due to the one-sided score.
Nationals: Williams said “we’re looking at Thursday, barring some kind of issue” for RHP Doug Fister (right forearm tightness) to rejoin the rotation. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (neck stiffness) is scheduled to start Wednesday for Double-A Harrisburg in what could be his lone minor league appearance.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore (elbow surgery) made his third rehab start for Class A Charlotte and may be back late this month. … Reliever Enny Romero left in the seventh with lower back tightness.
Riefenhauser was optioned to Triple-A Durham. RHP Ronald Belisario had his contract purchased from the International League club.
RHP Joe Ross popped out in the ninth as a pinch-hitter for DH Escobar.
It was first time two position players pitched for a team in a nine-inning game since July 20, 1990, when Montreal used Junior Noboa and Dave Martinez at Houston.
Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (2-2) and Rays RHP Matt Andriese (1-1) are Wednesday night’s starters when the home-and-home series shifts to Washington D.C.
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