May 4, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT
Ah, it’s good to be back home again. It’s been awhile since the Nationals last took the field here on South Capitol Street, when they lost 2 of 3 to the Cardinals. That set in motion the 6-game losing streak, which set in motion the historic comeback in Atlanta, which set in motion a strong weekend in New York. And so now, the Nats open a 6-game homestand against the same Marlins club that swept them at the start of that road trip.
Jordan Zimmermann (who held Miami to two runs in six innings in that series) is on the mound for tonight’s series opener, looking for a bit more consistency in his performance. He’ll have all the regulars behind him in the field, including Denard Span back in center field and leading off.
Right-hander David Phelps starts for the Marlins, his first career appearance against the Nationals. Should be a beautiful night for baseball, but if you aren’t able to make it to the park (or if your TV will be tuned to hockey instead) be sure to check back here for updates…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 99.1 FM, XM 183
Weather: Mostly sunny, 80 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Yunel Escobar
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2B Dee Gordon
3B Martin Prado
RF Giancarlo Stanton
CF Marcell Ozuna
1B Justin Bour
C J.T. Realmuto
LF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
RHP David Phelps
HP Lance Barksdale
1B Dan Iassogna
2B Ryan Blakney
3B Eric Cooper (cc)
7:05 p.m. — And we’re underway on a gorgeous Monday night in the District. Jordan Zimmermann starts off Dee Gordon with a fastball for ball one.
7:27 p.m. — That was an eventful first inning, both both clubs. The Marlins scored a run in the top of the inning, an unearned run made possible by Jayson Werth flat-out dropping Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive right at him. Marcell Ozuna made Werth pay by immediately singling up the middle to drive in the night’s first run. The Nats, though, responded with their own run in the bottom of the inning during a rally that saw Yunel Escobar and Werth single, then Bryce Harper draw his MLB-leading 25th walk of the season, extending his streak of games reaching base to 20. That loaded the bases for Ryan Zimmerman, who lofted a sac fly to right to tie the game 1-1. The Nats had a chance to break things open after a boneheaded play by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (he inexplicably threw late to third base on Wilson Ramos’ grounder to the hole, when he had all the time in the world to throw out the slow-footed Ramos at first base). But the Nats couldn’t take full advantage, with Ian Desmond striking out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
7:42 p.m. — Here’s a rare occurrence: Ichiro Suzuki was picked off. Zimmermann got him taking off from first base too soon, erasing his leadoff single in the top of the second. Denard Span, meanwhile, must be muttering to himself after getting robbed twice in two innings, each time with Prado making a great play on a tough grounder to third, and Westfield High and George Mason’s own Justin Bour making nice picks of Prado’s throws to first base. Still 1-1 after two.
7:58 p.m. — Make it 26 walks for Harper in 27 games. If Zimmerman keeps grounding into double plays like he just did to end the bottom of the third, Harper is going to continue getting free passes.
8:11 p.m. — Zimmermann has found his groove and is cruising along, having retired eight in a row since Ichiro’s single in the second. The Marlins haven’t had anybody reach second base since the top of the first. Still 1-1 after four.
8:26 p.m. — The Nats had a chance for something in the bottom of the fifth after back-to-back, 1-out singles by Span and Escobar. But Werth popped out on the first pitch he saw, then Harper grounded out. So they’re 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, though the one hit was Ramos’ grounder to short when Hechavarria tried to throw to third. So not a traditional hit there. Still 1-1 after five.
8:38 p.m. — Chase here taking over as Mark gets started on his game story. The sixth inning went by in a flash as all six outs were on balls put in play. The highlight was a very nice catch by Span in deep left-center field off a Stanton line drive. Span covered lots of ground before catching it at the start of the warning track. He then did a spin move as he hit the wall. Zimmermann has thrown 65 pitches through six innings. Phelps is at 85.
9:01 p.m. — The seventh inning saw both starters leave the game and the Nationals tie it at 2-2. Clint Robinson pinch-hit for Zimmermann with one out in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by Michael Taylor on base. Taylor then moved to third on a single to right field by Escobar. He hesitated at second base, preventing him from possibly scoring on the play, but Werth promptly singled to center to bring him home. It’s now 2-2 as Blake Treinen will take over to pitch the top of the eighth.
9:41 p.m. — The Nationals went down two runs in the top of the eighth before exploding for four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. They now lead 6-4 with Tanner Roark set to pitch the ninth inning. The Nats’ four runs came on a two-RBI homer by Desmond and then a single to right field by Escobar. That was Escobar’s fifth hit of the night, a career-high.
9:48 p.m. — Roark strikes Stanton out and the Nats win 6-4. They move to 13-14 on the year. Marlins fall to 12-14.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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