Thursday night, the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins to earn their 10th win in the last 11 games (WAS 7, MIA 3), and left fielder Kyle Schwarber is the No. 1 reason for their recent success. Schwarber moved into the leadoff spot full-time 11 games ago and has gone 16-for-43 (.372) with 11 home runs and 22 RBI since.
Schwarber opened Thursday's game with a leadoff homer against Marlins righty Cody Poteet, then added a three-run home run in the second inning to break the game open. To the action footage:
Schwarber's last five games have been especially good. He's gone deep eight times in those five games and is the seventh player in the Modern Era to hit eight homers in a five-game span, according to ESPN's Jesse Rogers. Schwarber joins Barry Bonds, Shawn Green, Josh Hamilton, Frank Howard, Ralph Kiner, and Manny Ramirez in the club. That's some company.
Furthermore, Schwarber is the first player in baseball history to hit 12 home runs out of the leadoff spot in a span of 13 team games, according to Stats Perform. Schwarber made a start in the leadoff spot on June 8 before moving to the top of the lineup full-time on June 12.
"He's well on his way to doing some really special things with this uniform on, so hopefully it continues," Nationals first baseman Josh Bell told reporters, including MLB.com's Paul Casella, about Schwarber's hot streak earlier this week. "It's been a lot of fun to watch, for sure."
Thursday's homers were No. 20 and 21 on the season for Schwarber, moving him into fourth place on the MLB home run leaderboard Only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (24), Shohei Ohtani (23), and Fernando Tatis Jr. (22) have gone deep more times. Schwarber is currently hitting .245/.330/.544 on the season.
The Nationals signed Schwarber to a one-year contract worth $10 million over the winter, after he was non-tendered by the Cubs. Washington is 36-36 and in second place in the NL East. They're 3 1/2 games behind the idle Mets.