It’s already an oft-told tale in this young baseball season. The Washington Nationals got a good performance from their starting pitcher, but the offense provided little backing and the bullpen faltered when it needed to be perfect. The result: the Nats fell to the Miami Marlins 3-2 before a sparse crowd at cavernous Marlins Park.
Friday night’s recipient of lack of support was Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed just two earned runs on six hits and no walks, striking out four.
The Nats (7-10) broke out on top in the fourth against Marlins starter Mat Latos. Ian Desmond extended his hitting streak to 10 with a leadoff double. He went to second on Jayson Werth’s sacrifice fly to right field, and then scored on Bryce Harper’s long sacrifice fly to center field that Marcell Ozuna tracked down at the wall some 410 feet from home plate.
Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double, but was stranded when Yunel Escobar grounded out to end the inning.
Zimmermann cruised through the early innings but ran into trouble with two outs in the fifth. Four consecutive singles by the Marlins (6-11), including an RBI single by pitcher Mat Latos, pushed across both runs Zimmermann gave up on the night. It could have been worse, but Bryce Harper threw out Dee Gordon on the last of the hits trying to extend it into a double.
The Nats tied it in the next inning, as Denard Span walked, stole second, and scored on Harper’s RBI single to right.
It stayed tied until the bottom of the eighth. Against reliever Tanner Roark (L, 0-2), in his second inning of work, Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to lead off. After a failed sacrifice attempt lead to the first out, manager Matt Williams called on lefty Matt Grace to face Gordon. Gordon hit slow roller to second, but Dan Uggla couldn’t make a play.
Williams then went to Aaron Barrett, and Gordon stole second, then Martin Prado delivered a single against Barrett to push across the winning run.
The Nats went 1-2-3 against Marlins closed Steve Cishek in the ninth.
HERO: Bryce Harper. He was responsible for almost all of the Nats offense. 2 for 2, walk, 2 RBIs.
GOAT: Aaron Barrett. Hard to make a guy who gave up one hit a goat, but with the offense still struggling to produce runs on a regular basis, every mistake the bullpen makes is amplified.
- Super Slider: Jordan Zimmermann’s slider was biting early, striking out Martin Prado, Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse in succession split between the first and second innings.
- Doubling up: Ryan Zimmerman’s double in the fourth inning was the 300th of his career.
- Struggle Bus: Everyone’s on it, but Jayson Werth went 0 for 3 to lower his average to .152.
NEXT GAME: Saturday at 4:10 pm Eastern at Miami. Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.50) faces Tom Koehler (1-2, 6.75).