Nothing gets your heart pumping quite like these “Cardiac Kids”.
A six-run eighth inning, including a go-ahead three-run homer from Danny Espinosa, turned a two-run deficit into a four-run lead that the team would not relinquish, as the Nationals (64-43) overcame errors and an uncharacteristically shaky start from Jordan Zimmermannto beat the Marlins, 10-7.
Zimmermann (ND, 8-6) pitched only five innings, breaking his streak of 23 consecutive starts with at least six innings pitched, which had been tied for the longest in the majors. He allowed five runs, but only four were earned thanks to one of Danny Espinosa’s two errors. Zimmermann needed 96 pitches to escape the fifth, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out three and bumping his ERA up to 2.45. Tom Gorzelanny pitched the sixth, allowing two hits and a walk but keeping the Marlins off the board. Michael Gonzalez recorded one out in the seventh, allowing one unearned run on Espinosa’s second error, after which he was replaced by Ryan Mattheus (W, 4-1), who would finish the seventh and the eighth, allowing just one hit over his 1.2 IP. After the Nats took the lead, Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth, allowing a run on two hits but finishing off the Marlins.
On the offensive side of things, Adam LaRoche maintained his incredible hot streak. He hit two home runs, one in the bottom of the second to pull within 2-1, and another in the bottom of the fifth to pull within 5-4. LaRoche now has four home runs in his past four games, and was 3-4 tonight with a walk and three runs scored. After three Miami runs in the first three innings, the Nats scored two in the bottom of the third to tie it with RBI singles from Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse. After LaRoche’s second home run and more Miami runs, the Nats came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. After a groundout by Morse, LaRoche reached on what would prove to be a fateful error by Marlins pitcher Mike Dunn.
Dunn then walked Jayson Werth, but struck out Kurt Suzuki, who was 0-3 in his Nationals debut. Since LaRoche reached on the error, Steve Lombardozzi was able to bat with two outs and men on first and second. Lombo promptly delivered, hitting an RBI single that scored LaRoche and pulled the Nats to within 6-5. Tyler Moore then pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot, hitting another RBI single that scored Werth and tied the game. Espinosa, who had been having a terrible night with two errors and two strikeouts, was up to bat next and promptly left the yard, breaking the game open and making it 9-6 in favor of the Nats. After Espinosa, Bryce Harper hit a moon shot into the second deck in right, putting the Nats four runs ahead. Only then did Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen remove Dunn, who allowed six unearned runs in 2/3 IP thanks to his own error. Carlos Zambrano allowed a single to Zimmerman before getting Morse to ground out and end the inning.
Champ of the Game: LaRoche, whose unbelievable hot streak has bolstered the Nats’ offense as of late.
For the Marlins, Jose Reyes was 3-4 with a walk, four runs scored, and two stolen bases.
Chump of the Game: Zimmermann, who was not in his Cy Young-contending form tonight.
Dunn takes this title for Miami by a landslide.
Unsung Hero: Werth, who was 2-3 with a walk and a run scored, and is hitting well since his return from the DL.
Carlos Lee was 2-4 with 2 RBI for the Marlins.
Next Game: Tomorrow at home against Miami, 1:35 PM. Nolasco (8-10, 4.90) v Strasburg (11-5, 3.12).