Edwin Jackson was having himself a heck of a ballgame. He cruised through the first five innings, allowing just a single base hit. He hit a snag in the sixth, as a pair of doubles led to a run, but he staved off any more trouble. But in the seventh, Jackson committed a costly throwing error on a pickoff attempt which lead to another run, and the Nats never did answer against Anibal Sanchez and three relievers, as the Miami Marlins beat the Washington Nationals for the second night in a row, 3-1, before 25,969 at Marlins Stadium.
The loss drops the Nats to 29-20 as the Marlins inch to within a game and a half of the first place Nats, tied with the New York Mets for second in the division.
In that seventh inning, Chris Coghlan singled through the middle with one out. Jackson tried to erase Coghlan with a pickoff attempt, but the throw sailed wide of first baseman Adam LaRoche, and Coghlan was off to the races, ending up at third base. Veteran pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs lofted a fly ball to medium left field, but the throw from Corey Brown wasn’t quite enough, and Coghlan slid in, just beating the throw. The Marlins took a 2-1 advantage at the time, and in review, it’s all they needed.
Miami added an insurance run in the eighth as Hanley Ramirez launched a massive shot to the stands in left off reliever Craig Stammen.
The only offense for the nats came in the fifth, when Ian Desmond singled, stole second, and came home on Brown’s perfectly placed suicide squeeze bunt.
The Nats loaded the bases with one out in the eighth off Marlins reliever Steve Cishek, but Bryce Harper struck out on a high fastball and Ryan Zimmerman ended the threat, bouncing out to third for a force out.
Catcher Jhonatan Solano made his MLB debut pinch-hitting for the pitcher’s spot in the ninth inning. He laced a double down the right field line for his first big league hit against Marlins closer Heath Bell, but was stranded.
THE GOOD: Ian Desmond. 2-for-4 with a run and stolen base.
THE BAD: Craig Stammen. Two hits and a home run in just 1/3 of an inning.
THE UGLY: Middle of the order. Zimmerman and LaRoche combined to go 0-for-8 with four LOB and three strikeouts.
THE STATS: 5 hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. 0-for-5 with RISP, 6 LOB, 1 GIDP. E: Ankiel (1), Jackson (1).
NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7: 10 pm against the Marlins. Chien-Ming Wang (1-0, 3.00) makes his first start of the year against Josh Johnson (2-3, 4.87).