Nats Top Marlins Behind Big Bats

What a roller coaster ride of a baseball game between the Nationals and Marlins on Wednesday. Neither starting pitcher was particularly sharp as the teams combined for 25 hits in a nearly four-hour long, nine inning game.

It wasn’t a good start for Jordan Zimmermann, who made it through just one and two-thirds innings, which makes it the shortest start of his major league career. He gave up a single to Christian Yelich to start the game, who then stole a base, before Derek Dietrich got on base via a walk. Giancarlo Stanton singled up the middle, scoring Yelich, and then Dietrich scored on a Garrett Jones sacrifice fly. After 34 pitches, Zimmermann got out of the inning in a 2-0 hole.

Things didn’t get better for Zimmermann in the second inning. After giving up a leadoff triple to Adeiny Hechavarria, he struck out the opposing pitcher, Brad Hand. But Yelich saw a lot of pitches and blooped a single into shallow left field. Dietrich didn’t waste any time sending a ball over the right field wall for a three-run home run, giving the Marlins a 5-0 lead. After getting Stanton to pop up and allowing back-to-back singles to Jones and Casey McGehee, Matt Williams had seen enough and pulled his starter after recording just five outs in favor of Craig Stammen.

The offense got hot in the fourth inning on the bat of Bryce Harper, who had struggled through the first week of the season. After working the count full, Harper crushed a fastball several rows into the third deck in right field with LaRoche and Zimmerman on base, which put the Nats within striking distance down just 5-3.

The Nats kept getting closer in the fifth after Anthony Rendon lined a one out triple into the right field corner for his second hit of the game. He came home in the next at bat when Werth hit a slow grounder to third, and put the Nats within a run.

Ross Detwiler made his third appearance of the season in relief of Stammen, who spun three and one-third innings of scoreless relief to keep the Nats in the game. Detwiler’s outing didn’t start nearly as cleanly as Stammen’s, but he made it work.

In the bottom of the sixth, they got Jordan Zimmermann off the hook after Ryan Zimmerman reached third on a double and an error by Stanton. Ian Desmond knocked in Zimmerman on a swinging bunt to the the game at five with none out in the inning. Harper then singled, sending Desmond to third for Jose Lobaton.

Lobaton reached on an error after he bounced a grounder off of the pitcher, Dan Jennings, which allowed Desmond to score from third, and Harper moved to second. Denard Span did his part by singling up the middle, loading the bases with one out for Rendon and Werth, who both flew out, but the Nats did their damage by chipping away at the Marlins bullpen to take the lead 6-5.

The lead was short lived, though. Drew Storen entered the game and gave up a leadoff home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Both Stanton and Werth were robbed of center field home runs earlier in the game but not the Marlins catcher. Just like that, the game was tied, once again.

Tyler Clippard came in for the eighth inning and walked Yelich, which would come back to bite him and the Nats. After striking out Dietrich, Stanton walked. Jones doubled into right field, scoring Yelich, but a great throw by Werth, relay by Rendon, and tag by Lobaton limited the damage in the inning to one run.

The eighth inning is where all the magic happened. Carlos Marmol came in to pitch for the Marlins, and after retiring Jose Lobaton, he hit Nate McLouth on the shin. Span then dropped a bunt single and there was an error on the throw, so he and McLouth moved up a base, making it second and third with one out.

Marmol intentionally walked Rendon to get to Werth, which turned out to be a big mistake. On a 1-0 pitch, Werth crushed the ball into the vistor’s bullpen for his first grand slam in a Nationals uniform. He gave the Nats a 10-7 lead, which was put in the hands of Rafael Soriano.

Soriano allowed a double to Marcell Ozuna and a single to Donovan Solano, but no additional damage was one as the Nats won the series and improved to 6-2 on the season.

Joe Drugan

About Joe Drugan

Joe is the Managing Editor of The Nats Blog and host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast. He's been blogging about the Nationals since 2010 and with The Nats Blog since 2011.