Big night a good sign for LaRoche during hitting woes

Big night a good sign for LaRoche during hitting woes

WASHINGTON -- After posting a .159 average in July, Adam LaRoche showed signs of breaking out of a slump Wednesday night when he hit two home runs in a 7-1 victory over the Mets at Nationals Park.

LaRoche was one of the Nationals' hottest hitters through the first half of the season and entered last month hitting .307 with 12 home runs. But the first baseman sputtered significantly in July, as his season average dropped to .266 and he delivered just one long ball in 88 at-bats.

The left-handed slugger got off to better start in August, going 6-for-17 with two doubles in his first five games. Wednesday night, though, may be the performance that gets LaRoche back on track.

"It's nice to see them go in the seats and not to the warning track or just foul. I felt like I was snake bit last month," LaRoche said. "I never really felt lost at the plate, which I have plenty of times in the past. But I just felt like I was right there, felt like any night, it was going to click and [I would] start squaring up balls."

LaRoche's first home run of the contest came in the opening inning, when he belted a 2-1 cutter from Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese into the right-field seats. It was a two-run jack that nearly landed in the upper deck and put the Nationals up 3-0.

LaRoche hit his second dinger off Mets reliever Carlos Torres in the eighth, driving a 2-2 changeup over the center-field fence, about 20 feet to the right of the 402 sign.

"He's going to continue to hit in the middle of our order, and tonight was a good example of him being on time," manager Matt Williams said. "When he's hitting those lofty fly balls to left field, he's just a tick off. Tonight, his timing was much better."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.