The Washington Nationals (49-63) were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers (58-54) yesterday afternoon by a score of 8-3, closing out a weeklong west coast swing in Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Jason Marquis (0-4, 15.32) made his first appearance since April 18th after being sidelined with loose bone chips in his arm, unfortunately it didn’t take long until the rust kicked in by committing a crucial error leading to four runs in the first inning by the Dodgers, one of two errors in the opening inning by the Nats. As a matter of fact, pitching coach Steve McCatty made visit to the mound before an out was even recorded by Marquis.
James Loney bumped the score to 2-0 on a single to left field scoring Ryan Theriot and a few batters later, the scrappy Jamey Carroll got in on the action with a single to center scoring Andre Ethier and Ronnie Belliard, pushing the score to a commanding 4-0 lead at the end of one.
Despite being in a large hole early in the game, The Nats made the game interesting again in the top of the second with back to back solo home runs by Mike Morse and Justin Maxwell off left hander Ted Lilly, who was making his second start for the Dodgers. In cutting the Dodger lead in half with two swings of the bat from unlikely sources, Washington was confident that they could break through and manufacture some more runs early on in the game.
It wasn’t until the fourth when Marquis ran into trouble again, where with one out, Carroll doubled to left bringing A.J. Ellis to the dish, who promptly followed with a double of his own scoring Carroll. Marquis got out of the inning giving up just one run, and took the mound to start the fifth, but was yanked from the game after beaning Theriot with a pitch that nearly took off his head. Jim Riggleman replaced him with Doug Slaten, after 70 pitches through his four plus innings of work.
There was Jay Gibbons sighting at Dodger Stadium in the bottom of the sixth, who was making his first appearance in a major league baseball game since 2007 when he was with the Orioles. While pinch-hitting for Lilly with a man on first and third with two out against Mr. Iowa, Miguel Batista, Gibbons singled up the middle scoring Belliard and moving Carroll to third. What a relief for someone who fell off the face of the earth following the Mitchell Report.
Los Angeles tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a Reed Johnson RBI single off Drew Storen making the score 8-3, but those runs just added to the misery that was the Nationals afternoon.
Washington will have an off day on Monday, leading to the return of Stephen Strasburg (5-2, 2.32) in the series opener against Florida on Tuesday.