Hot 2nd-half start earns Rendon weekly honor

Nationals 3rd baseman named NL Player of the Week for 1st time

Hot 2nd-half start earns Rendon weekly honor

CINCINNATI -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon followed up his career first half with a career-type week for which he earned some hardware.

Rendon was named the first National League Player of the Week of the second half on Monday after a stretch over which he hit .636. It was a shortened week due to the All-Star break, but Rendon raked nonetheless, going 7-for-11 with a double, three homers, three walks and four runs scored.

Washington manager Dusty Baker credited Rendon's performance to the extra days off.

"Rendon was ailing -- he had run into the tarp -- and the rest did him wonders," Baker said after Monday's 6-1 win over the Reds. "And he's probably the best guy here that responds well after days off."

All-time Player of the Week Award winners

Rendon hit safely in all three games, and he reached base in 10 of 14 plate appearances. He drove in six runs Saturday, making him the only player with two games with at least six RBIs this season. He followed it up with a 1-for-2, two-walk day Monday that saw him reach base in each of his first three-at-bats.

The honor is the first of Rendon's career and the third given to a Nationals player this season.

Rendon has been a crucial cog in the middle of the Nats' order, which tore the cover off the ball in the first few days after the break. In Washington's four-game sweep of Cincinnati, Rendon, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy combined to go 23-for-54 (.426) with nine home runs and 24 RBIs.

"We've got some good hitters," Zimmerman said. "I think we kind of push each other, and though we don't openly talk about it, we kind of compete every day against each other and want to drive runs in and do better than the other guy. Competition's good, and right now we have a lot of that in the middle of our order."

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the Nationals on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.