Players in the dugout react as first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hits the Nationals’ fourth home run of the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Until the eighth inning of their victory Wednesday night, the Nationals were held to one run over 16 innings in two days against the Milwaukee Brewers. Then they scored seven in that eighth inning, and they continued mashing in historic fashion in Thursday’s 15-2 rout, with a pigeon calmly observing behind home plate, undeterred by the barrage.

Two innings after Bryce Harper clubbed a two-run home run in the first inning, the Nationals slugged back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, and five in six at-bats, in the third off Brewers right-hander Michael Blazek. The five home runs tied a major league record for an inning. It was the eighth time a club hit four straight homers and the first since the Arizona Diamondbacks pulled it off on Aug. 10, 2011. The Nationals franchise had never done it, going back to its Montreal days.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve seen back-to-back-to-back, but not four in a row. It’s like you almost can’t believe it.”

None Left fielder Brian Goodwin watches his home run, the first of four in a row, leave the park in the third inning against the Brewers on Thursday, July 27, 2017. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Brian Goodwin sparked the frenzy with a two-run homer after Max Scherzer led the inning off with a walk. Then Wilmer Difo, Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each smacked solo shots. Zimmerman said he didn’t feel any pressure to sustain the run because he didn’t realize the Nationals had hit four straight home runs until he got to the dugout.

“I looked over at Goody and I went, ‘Is that four home runs in a row?’ ” Zimmerman said. “I don’t know. I was just watching everyone hit home runs. I’m just glad I put a good swing. On my first bat, I struck out on three pitches. It was a good way to turn it around.”

Daniel Murphy then finally ended the streak with a flyout, which prompted playful boos.

“People, like us, are greedy, I guess,” Baker said.

 

Anthony Rendon put them back on track with another solo blast to give Washington an 8-0 lead. Blazek then exited after becoming the ninth pitcher since 1913 to give up six home runs in a game and the first since 2010.

The Nationals settled on the five in the third inning but were not done. Zimmerman and Jose Lobaton added home runs off relief pitcher Wily Peralta in the fourth to spike the lead to 15-1 and the home run total to eight. Zimmerman’s home run was the 237th of his career, tying him with Frank Howard for the most in Washington baseball history. The eight home runs are the most the Nationals have hit since moving to Washington in 2005 and tied for the franchise record the Expos set in 1978.

“We got a lineup that could possibly do some special things,” Harper said. “With the guys we have in this lineup right now, anything can happen.”

The Nationals were held without a home run the rest of the way, which allowed attention to shift to the pigeon. The bird, now an internet sensation, stayed situated behind the home plate cutout just above the Nationals’ Curly W logo, where it had been roaming from the start of the game. It briefly moved to the infield grass parallel to the pitcher’s mound but returned to its familiar territory soon after. The masses rejoiced.

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