The Miami Marlins came into this three-game series with the Washington Nationals in unfamiliar territory of late: first place. The Marlins 5-2 record to start the season was surprising, but the Nats showed Miami that there’s more to the season than two series, as Gio Gonzalez dominated for six innings, Adam LaRoche went 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs, Anthony Rendon drove in three, and the Nats cruised to a 5-0 win before 21,728 at Nationals Park.
The Nats got to Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Jayson Werth doubled to the left center gap and scored on LaRoche’s single. LaRoche forced the cutoff, allowing Werth to score, and was thrown out 7-5-3.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez was busy retiring Marlins, but having to work for it. In the second, he gave up a bunt single to Garrett Jones against a heavy shift, and walked Marcell Ozuna with one out. Gonzalez buckled down ad retired Reed Johnson and Alvarez to get out of the trouble. Gonzalez needed 59 pitches to get through three scoreless innings.
While Gonzalez was sitting down Marlins, Alvarez matched him out for out. After Danny Espinosa’s bunt single in the second, Alvarez retired 11 of the next 12 Nats batters, allowing a walk to LaRoche in the fourth, but nothing else.
But with one out in the sixth, Bryce Harper singled the other way and went to third on LaRoche’s single. Alvarez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing LaRoche to move up to second (barely) and after second baseman Jeff Baker bobbled the throw, Harper sprinted home with the Nats second run of the night.
LaRoche moved up to third on a wild pitch — which was ball four to Ian Desmond — and Anthony Rendon followed with a single as LaRoche walked home with run No. 3, chasing Alvarez.
Jerry Blevins and Drew Storen combined for a scoreless seventh and Tyler Clippard dominated with two strikeouts in the eighth, including a splitter that Giancarlo Stanton swung right over.
Rendon’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth with Werth and LaRoche aboard iced it.
Aaron Barrett got the last three outs to send everyone home happy with the shutout.