Having Gio Gonzalez on the mound and a healthy Jayson Werth in the lineup could help them do it again as the NL East-leading Nationals open this four-game set with the Miami Marlins with a doubleheader Friday.
LaRoche is batting .325 with five homers in 20 games since the All-Star break, a stretch that started when he had three hits and two runs in a 5-1 victory at Miami on July 13. That win was also Washington's first against Johnson (6-7, 4.04 ERA), who had been 8-0 with a 3.31 ERA in his previous 15 starts against the division rival.
The Nationals (62-42) are expected to face Johnson in the second game of this doubleheader, and LaRoche will likely have a say if they're going to beat him again.
The first baseman is 7 for 24 against him lifetime, but four of those hits, including a pair of doubles, have come in six at-bats this year.
LaRoche is also entering this twinbill with a .432 average, four homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 games. He had a solo homer among his three hits and two RBIs in Thursday's 3-0 win over Philadelphia.
Werth hit behind LaRoche on Thursday, going 1 for 3 with an RBI in his return from a broken left wrist injury that sidelined him since May 6. Werth may be 4 for 17 versus Johnson, but LaRoche is happy to have him back as Washington tries to pad its 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Atlanta.
"It's huge to have him back, having him back in the lineup, back in the outfield, back in here," LaRoche said of Werth.
The sluggers may be looking to capitalize on Johnson's struggles on the road. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in eight starts outside Miami, but enters this meeting coming off two strong performances at home.
He went 1-0 in those outings, allowing two runs - one earned - and three hits with 13 strikeouts in 11 innings. Both of those runs, however, came Sunday, when he battled through five innings while tying a career high with six walks in a 5-4, 10-inning win over San Diego.
"Just a mess, but I found away to clean up, I guess," Johnson said. "I don't know how, but I made pitches when I needed to."
Gonzalez (13-5, 3.27) is scheduled to face Johnson, and he's among the NL leaders in wins and strikeouts (137). The left-hander, though, is 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA in four starts.
Gonzalez's struggles continued Sunday, surrendering five runs and a season high-tying five walks in six innings of an 11-10 win in 11 at Milwaukee.
He was charged with a 2-1 defeat in his only season meeting with the Marlins on July 14, allowing two runs and striking out nine in six innings.
The Nationals are expected to recall John Lannan (1-0, 2.57) from Triple-A Syracuse to start the first game. His only start this season came in the same scenario July 21. He allowed two runs and five hits and hit two batters in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Atlanta.
The left-hander, who went 10-13 in 2011 with Washington, is 6-10 with a 5.24 ERA in 19 starts in the minors. He's 0-4 with a 5.50 ERA in his last six starts against the Marlins, losing all three at home.
The Marlins, losers of 11 of 15 after falling 6-1 at Atlanta on Thursday, are scheduled to counter Lannan with a minor leaguer of their own in Brad Hand .
Hand is 8-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 22 starts for Triple-A New Orleans, and he's expected to be recalled in order to make his season debut.
The left-hander went 1-8 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 starts as a rookie with the Marlins last year. He went 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in two meetings with the Nationals - both in Washington.
|July 29, 2012||Logan Morrison||15-Day DL||Right knee inflammation|
|July 23, 2012||Juan Carlos Oviedo||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
|July 08, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic right knee surgery|
|July 08, 2012||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Right finger laceration|
|July 06, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
|August 01, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 29, 2012||Adam LaRoche||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back tightness|
|July 22, 2012||Ian Desmond||15-Day DL||Torn left oblique|
|July 18, 2012||Jhonatan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|June 30, 2012||Stephen Strasburg||Day-to-Day||Left game - heat exhaustion|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- John Lannan has been the Washington Nationals ' opening day starter twice. Now he also has two wins as the club's 26th man in a doubleheader.
Teams are now allowed to add an extra player for doubleheaders, and Lannan has gotten the call both times the Nationals' have played twin-bills.
On Friday, he pitched into the seventh inning of the opener and allowed only one run in six innings of Washington's 7-4 victory over the Miami Marlins .
Adam LaRoche homered and drove in three runs, and Mark DeRosa added three RBIs.
When the season began, Lannan was the odd man out and sent to Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals' starting pitching has been sturdy and successful. None of the five pitchers who started the season in the rotation has been hurt, and Lannan has been toiling in the minors.
"I understand the situation. Going down there and pitching was a little weird," Lannan said.
Lannan is 6-10 with a 5.24 ERA at Syracuse. In these two spot starts, he is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA.
He allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings. After walking five and striking out four, he was slated to be sent back to Syracuse.
"I wish I could stay up here, but I know the deal," Lannan said.
LaRoche had a first-inning RBI single, a third-inning home run, and a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. He has an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .463 over that stretch.
DeRosa, who missed nearly two months because of an oblique injury, doubled his RBI total for the season with a two-run single in the first-inning and a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.
The Nationals scored seven runs off Brad Hand (0-1), who had been recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to start the game. Hand, 1-9 in his career, gave up six hits and six walks in 3 2-3 innings. He was scheduled to return to the minors after the game.
"He was a little wild and got behind on the hitters," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If you are going to pitch in the big leagues you have to throw strikes."
Miami scored two runs off Lannan to start the seventh and loaded the bases against Drew Storen in the eighth, but Storen struck out Justin Ruggiano , and Michael Gonzalez fanned Bryan Petersen .
Gonzalez allowed two hits and a run to start the ninth, and Tyler Clippard came in to earn his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he hoped Lannan would have gone a little deeper in the game.
"I thought he ran out of gas. I didn't get to him in time. Another big boost for us," Johnson said.
Lannan and the injured Chien-Ming Wang are candidates to join the rotation if Stephen Strasburg is shut down next month on an innings limit.
"He'll be back here soon," Johnson said of Lannan.
Johnson was most troubled by Storen's wildness. He walked two in just his eighth appearance since returning from April surgery on his right elbow.
"I didn't use some of the guys I had to use. Storen's ball was moving everywhere," Johnson said.
"I didn't want to do what I did there."
Miami scored a run in the first. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a walk, Donovan Solano singled, and Jose Reyes bunted for a hit to load the bases. Bonifacio scored when Carlos Lee hit into a double play.
LaRoche's RBI single and DeRosa's two-run single gave Washington a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first.
"I was that close to being out of the first inning," Hand said.
LaRoche's 21st home run in the third made it 4-1, and the Nationals added three runs in the fourth on bases-loaded walks to LaRoche and DeRosa, and a single by Tyler Moore .
"It was a hard game, a hard night," Guillen said.
NOTES: Reyes extended his hitting streak to 21 games. ... The Nationals acquired C Kurt Suzuki from Oakland for minor league C David Freitas. Johnson expects Suzuki to report in time for Saturday's game. To make room on the 40-man roster, Washington designated C Carlos Maldonado for assignment. ... The Marlins called up RHP Chris Hatcher to serve as the 26th man for the doubleheader. Hatcher pitched two scoreless innings. ... Miami 3B Donnie Murphy left the game in the seventh inning because of a strained left hamstring. He wasn't in the lineup for the second game, but is considered day-to-day.