Given the answer, this just might be the greatest Nationals trivia question ever: “Who are the six players in Nationals history with five hits in a game?”
I mean, look at the list of players Denard Span joined with his five-hit night on Tuesday.
Denard Span joins Ian Desmond (’11), Elijah Dukes (’08), Jesus Flores (’08), Cristian Guzman (’09) & Nook Logan (’07) as #Nats w/5-hit games
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 21, 2014
It would be even better with Wiki Gonzalez in place of Desmond, but that’s quite a group. Here’s how the five players who came before Span joined the exclusive club.
After hitting .223 before the all-star break, Desmond got hot in the second half. He had a career day in a 10-1 win over the Mets at Citi Field, with five hits in six at-bats and three RBI.
In the Nationals’ 2009 home opener, Guzman had five hits in a 9-8 loss to the Phillies. He was hitting .329 at the end of May and finished the season with a .284 average. With only 16 walks in 555 plate appearances, his on-base percentage was barely north of .300.
Flores’s big day was part of a 15-run, 17-hit attack in a 15-6 win over the Braves at Turner Field. I enjoyed this excerpt from Chico Harlan’s game story:
“If the Nationals can score 15 runs, well then surely Felipe Lopez can go 3 for 4 (he did), and no doubt Willie Harris can reach base five times in a row (there were 29,320 witnesses), and heck, maybe it’s even possible that Austin Kearns can score five runs in five at-bats (yes, this happened). And while we’re at it, maybe Harris can contribute five RBI, and maybe Ryan Langerhans — who started the series with a .188 batting average — can bump that figure to .267, and maybe Jesus Flores can snap a month-long slump by reaching a new career-high for hits. By the fifth inning.”
I had an unhealthy obsession with Dukes and his potential when he came to Washington, so much so that I once bid him up to $31 in an NL-only fantasy baseball auction. I resisted the urge to go $32 and lost him, but that worked out fine, because this game was probably the peak of his Nationals career.
“I was trying not to press and just let it come,” Dukes told The Post’s Steve Yanda after his fifth hit, a dribbler through the infield, gave the Nationals a 4-3, 14-inning win over the Rangers at Nationals Park. “I feel good [at the plate] right now, but I don’t know about being in any ‘zone.'”
Dukes finished 5-for-6 with a homer, two RBI and a walk.
Logan didn’t have more than two hits in any of his 28 starts before the all-star break, but everything came together for him in an 11-6 win at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
“After the all-star break,” Logan told reporters after the game, “I’ve just been like, ‘See the ball. Hit the ball.'”
Logan hit .284 in the second half to finish the season batting .265.