The Washington Nationals (57-46) led 6-0 in the sixth inning, but the Miami Marlins (52-53) scored seven runs in the game’s final three innings, including four off of Rafael Soriano, and grabbed the win, 7-6.
With the utterly heartbreaking loss, the Nationals’ lead in the NL East is down to just a half game after the Atlanta Braves won earlier today. Not to be discounted, the Marlins are now just six games out of first as well.
No matter how abhorrent this game was, it must be dissected, piece by horrifying piece. The Nats grabbed the lead in the first, scoring a run on an Adam LaRoche sacrifice fly.
The floodgates opened against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi in the sixth. The Nats began the frame with three straight singles, scoring a run to double the lead to 2-0. A lineout and a walk later, Eovaldi got the hook with the sacks packed. But reliever Dan Jennings was no better, as Bryce Harper reached on an error, Wilson Ramos walked in another run, and Danny Espinosa singled to bring the lead up to six runs.
To that point, Jordan Zimmermann had been dominating. He gave up two hits and no walks through six innings, but a pair of knocks and a walk in the seventh gave Miami its first foothold, cutting the lead to 6-2. Ross Detwiler gave up another run in the eighth, setting up the save situation for Soriano.
Soriano’s control was off from the start, as he walked Casey McGehee on four pitches. A double, an extremely well-hit sacrifice fly, and a triple later, the game was tied with the winning run on third with just one out. By then, and arguably much too late, Manager Matt Williams yanked Soriano in favor of Jerry Blevins.
Blevins did his job, striking out the left-handed Christian Yelich for the second out. But Tyler Clippard was unavailable tonight, so Blevins stayed in against righty Jeff Baker, who ended the game with a walk-off double.
As the cherry on top of the crap sundae that was this game, Jayson Werth left with a sprained ankle. It does not appear to be serious, but he is day-to-day.
What’s left to say? Soriano had an awful night, but his body of work is more than enough to maintain anyone’s faith in him. The Nats bullpen, which by any objective measure is among the league’s best, will not often give up five runs. Stuff happens.
Stephen Strasburg will attempt to erase everyone’s bad memories tomorrow.