November 27, 2014

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Haren gives up four homers in Nats’ 8-5 loss to Marlins

The Miami Marlins put on a derby against Dan Haren and the Washington Nationals Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium – not in the least, Giancarlo Stanton, whose first inning shot landed well beyond the right field wall.

While the Nats’ bats – namely, Bryce Harper – helped Haren walk away with a no-decision, Ryan Mattheus did not step in for the loss until the seventh inning, with the game tied 5-5.

Miami’s Chris Valaika clobbered a two-out homer in the second inning before Haren forced Adeiny Hechavarria to ground to first to hold the Marlins to two runs into the third.

Then, the Nats answered.

After Kurt Suzuki singled and Haren struck out swinging, Denard Span hit a fly ball to center for the second out of the inning. Jayson Werth, however, drew a walk to keep things going and Harper batted in Suzuki with a soft liner to right. Shortly after, Ryan Zimmerman reached base on a force attempt and fielding error by Valaika, which scored Werth, but the Nats’ run ended there as Adam LaRoche struck out swinging in the next at-bat.

Haren pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third and neither team recorded runs in the fourth.

Things swung into Washington’s favor in the fifth after Span singled to center and Harper drew a one-out walk. Yet again, Zimmerman reached first on a force attempt and throwing error – this time by first baseman Greg Dobbs – and pinch-runner Roger Bernadina scored the Nats’ go-ahead run to make it 3-2 Washington.

Once more, LaRoche struck out swinging – fortunately enough, for just the second out – and Henderson Alvarez handed Washington a freebie as Harper scored on a pitch that bounced in the dirt. Ian Desmond struck out swinging, however, and Haren returned to the mound with a 4-2 lead.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as Adeiny Hechavarria drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning, just before pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan homered to right to tie things up yet again, 4-4.

Before Haren’s day was through, Stanton doubled his contributions to the scoreboard with another shot – this time to center – to lead off the bottom of the sixth and supply the Marlins with a 5-4 lead.

“The Shark” himself – Bernadina – made it a new ballgame with a solo shot to lead off the seventh, but the Nats were unable to build momentum off left-hander Mike Dunn. With the game tied, 5-5, Haren settled for the no-decision with a final line of: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 HR.

Unfortunately for the Nats, it didn’t take long for Miami to figure out Ryan Mattheus coming off the stretch. Hechavarria reached first on a throwing error by Chad Tracy at third and was replaced on a force out by Casey Kotchman. Juan Pierre stepped in with a single to center to advance Kotchman to second and Placido Polanco singled to center to plate both Kotchman and Pierre.

With two outs, Dobbs singled to Bernadina in center to plate Polanco and the Marlins capped off the inning with an 8-5 lead.

The Nats settled on the 8-5 loss after failing to build upon Chad Tracy’s lead-off double in the eighth or Bernadina’s one-out single in the ninth, despite Tyler Clippard providing an inning of hitless relief in the eighth.

Winning pitcher: Mike Dunn: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 K, 1 HR

Losing pitcher: Ryan Mattheus: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER

Honorable mentions: Bryce Harper: 2-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB;  Roger Bernadina: 2-2, 2 R, 1 RBI

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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