Following a six-day span in which they didn't put up more than three runs, the Washington Nationals have managed to turn things around at the plate.
Now they could be facing a stretch without their star slugger.
With Bryce Harper out of the starting lineup, the Nationals hope to keep swinging the bats well Saturday as they try to take two of the first three in a four-game home set with the San Diego Padres.
Washington (13-11) totaled 13 runs and 32 hits over a six-game slump before scoring 19 with 44 hits in its last three. On Friday, the Nationals had a season-high 17 hits in an 11-1 victory that evened their series versus San Diego (11-13).
A night after going hitless in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position in a series-opening 4-3 loss, they went 7 for 17 with 11 RBIs in those spots to improve to 4-5 on their 11-game homestand.
Harper also appeared to be getting into a groove with four hits in seven at-bats against the Padres. He was 2 for 2 with a career-high four RBIs Friday, but had to leave after four innings with a jammed thumb.
Harper could be seen flexing his left wrist after sliding head first on his bases-loaded triple in the third inning.
"I slid into the bag and I caught it a little bit," Harper said. "Went into the dugout, swung a couple in the cage, felt fine. Went out to the outfield, it swelled up a little bit."
Manager Matt Williams said before Saturday's game that Harper wouldn't start but was available "off the bench for sure." Williams added that a hand specialist will check the injury Saturday.
"The early tests today are pretty good," Williams said. "The X-rays are negative. There's some swelling there. We just want to make sure we knock it out."
While Kevin Frandsen takes Harper's place in left field, Anthony Rendon will look to stay on a roll after finishing with a career-high four hits and two RBIs Friday. Jose Lobaton and Ian Desmond each added three hits. Lobaton, a former San Diego catcher, has gone 10 for 22 over a five-game hitting streak.
San Diego's Andrew Cashner (2-2, 2.10 ERA) will try to quiet those bats and get back on track after giving up four runs over six innings in a 4-3 loss at Milwaukee on Monday.
It was the first time in 11 starts that the right-hander had given up more than two earned runs. The streak trailed only the Los Angeles Dodgers' Zach Greinke, who has now gone 17 starts without giving up that many.
"I didn't execute well with my sinker," said Cashner, who struck out a season-low four batters. "I was up with it quite a bit."
Cashner struggled in his only start in Washington on July 5, giving up a career high-tying six runs in two frames of an 8-5 loss.
The Nationals counter with right-hander Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.80), who held the Los Angeles Angels scoreless over 6 2-3 innings Monday before the bullpen failed him in a 4-2 loss.
The Padres haven't given their starters much room for error, ranking at or near the bottom of the majors in runs (65), home runs (13), batting average (.226) and on-base percentage (.278).
San Diego has several regulars hitting below .200, including Chase Headley, Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko. Headley, however, was placed on the disabled list after going down with a strained calf Thursday.
Making matters worse, Seth Smith is day-to-day after missing Friday's contest due to a groin injury. He's been a bright spot, hitting .277 with a team-high .385 on-base percentage.