And while he hasn’t played since May 21 or produced like he has in the past, LaRoche was indeed a hopeful offseason signing. He is a solid defender who had hit at least 20 home runs and drove in at least 78 runs each of the past six seasons. Ever since LaRoche landed on the disabled list, Michael Morse has taken sole control of the position after starting the season as the left fielder.

In recent weeks, Morse has turned into the team’s hottest hitter and credited the surge with a buildup in confidence and continued help from hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

Morse leads the team in batting average (.300), RBIs (36), on-base percentage (.345) and is tied with Danny Espinosa for most home runs (10). In the past 25 games, Morse has hit .352 (32 for 91), smacked eight home runs and driven in 25 runs. And if there was any doubt before, Morse has Manager Jim Riggleman’s vote of confidence to continue at the position.

“He can play first base,” Riggleman said before Tuesday night’s win. “He’s a good first baseman. I think Mike, if needed, can play third, can play the outfield. But first base is his best position and he hits like a first baseman. That is where he profiles out to be the best at.”


The Nationals use a six-run seventh-inning to surge past the visiting St. Louis Cardinals for their fourth straight win and welcome back third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the disabled list.


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 3, Syracuse 1: Ross Detwiler allows three runs on seven hits over seven innings, as the Chiefs lose their third straight game.

Myrtle Beach 2, Potomac 0: The Pelicans use two pitchers to shutdown the Nationals and allow only two hits (Jeff Kobernus and Brian Peacock).

Potomac 5, Myrtle Beach 1: Jeff Kobernus goes 3-for-3 and drives in two runs, and Eury Perez also drives in two, to lead Potomac. Starter Cameron Selik allows only one run four hits over seven innings.

Trenton 7, Harrisburg 3: In his second start for Harrisburg, Garrett Mock allows nine hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Hagerstown 2, Lakewood 2: First baseman David Freitas hit a first-inning two-run homer, his eighth of the season, to power the Suns. The game was suspended in the top of the 11th inning.