It turned out Doug Fister picked the wrong time for his second hit of the season, at least in regard to the perpetuation of Denard Span’s on-base streak.
In his third at-bat Tuesday night during the Nationals’ 7-1 victory, Span smoked a screaming line drive down the first base line. If Fister had not singled before Span, first baseman Lucas Duda would not have been holding him on the bag, and Span’s liner would have zipped into right field for a double or a triple.
But Fister did single, and Duda was standing there. Duda knocked the ball down and started a double play. Span finished 0 for 5, failing to reach for the first time since June 28 and halting his streak at 36 games.
In the course of Span’s streak, he hit .396/.463/.458 with 19 walks and 16 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances. Along with his typically outstanding defense, Span stole 10 bases and got caught just once. During the streak, Span raised his average from .264 to .306 – seventh in the National League entering Wednesday’s game – and pushed his on-base percentage from .312 to .360.
Span received a final chance in the top of the ninth, injecting drama into a blowout, but he tapped back to lefty reliever Dana Eveland. On his way back to the dugout, Rendon bumped his fist and tapped him on the leg. In a cool moment, every teammate lined up in the dugout to acknowledge Span’s just-ended streak.