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Washington Nationals news and notes: Nats win “hitters’ duel” with Blue Jays, 11-8 final; Big hit for Eddie Rosario + more…

“Today was basically a hitters’ duel,” Davey Martinez said after his club’s 11-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale in the nation’s capital. “I’m happy that we finished on top.”

Trailing 6-1 after two and a half, with starter MacKenzie Gore out after just three innings, giving up six hits, two walks and six runs, two of them earned, with a costly error in the top half of the second inning, which scored one run, and after which the Jays added four on a grand slam by Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., the Nationals were again in a big hole early.

However, Martinez’s side have now fallen behind, having won 12 times this season, and winning five of the last seven, so they should be used to this by now.

“I’ve said before that these guys never feel like they’re not playing a game anymore,” Martinez told reporters at his post-match press conference on Sunday. ‘They do not. Today is another example.”

Luis Garcia, Jr. went 4 for 4 with a solo home run, a two-run single, 4 RBIs, one stolen base and two runs scored in the win. Jesse Winker homered for the fourth time this year, making it a 7-6 game in favor of the Nationals in the fourth, and after the Jays rallied to tie the score and take the lead in the fifth, 8-7, García drove in another. run, 8-8, and then, in what might be the biggest development, Eddie Rosario hit his second home run of the year 400 feet to right-center for the second of those two hits of the game, a cathartic shot for the collapsing veteran.

It was Rosario’s first home run since Opening Day, and it was his first multi-hit game of the year, and only his third hit in the last 13 games. So yeah, it was big. And he showed it by the way he looked at his bat and then tossed it aside as the dugout went wild for their 32-year-old teammate, whose average is .118 this season.

“You know, I needed it,” Rosario said after the win through interpreter Octavio Martinez. “As you can see from the start I’ve had, I’m one of those players who looks forward to those big moments, and I’ve had some big moments in my career with big home runs.

“But how we started, I needed it. It’s definitely a confidence booster knowing I can still be that player.”

It was a big moment in the game and a big moment for the outfielder.

“We actually saw it when he crossed home plate,” Martinez said of Rosario’s reaction. “It was like a sigh of relief, so hopefully that will help him along the way. But like I said, I’ve seen this guy hit home runs like that many times in big moments. He’s a big bat for us. The reason we signed him is because we felt he could turn the ball over and give us the lead against right-handed pitching. Today was great. The last swing before that, the ball he hit up the middle… I thought, ‘Oh yeah,’ for me that was the key, so if he can keep doing that, the rest will come.”

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Washington Nationals

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Rosario’s shot gave the club a 10-8 lead, and Joey Meneses hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth to make it 11-8.

“They fought back, we got some big hits, you know, and eventually we go ahead, they tie the game, and then Eddie comes up with a big home run. But like I said before, they are ruthless. They keep coming, keep coming,” Martinez said.