Can’t the season just start already?
From the first inning, Haren showed a susceptibility to the long ball. With two outs in the first, dangerous slugger Giancarlo Stanton went yard. In the second, less dangerous slugger Chris Valaika, who has one career HR in 67 PA, did the same. On offense, the Nats were kept quiet, scoring no runs despite a Harper single in the first that marked his eighth consecutive hit. Miami led 2-0 after two, but the Nats struck with two in the third. Harper drove in Kurt Suzuki with his ninth straight hit, and Jayson Werth scored on a Chris Valaika error.
With the offense behind him, Haren got back into a groove, retiring all six Marlins he faced in the third and fourth. Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez matched him in the fourth, but gave up two (unearned) runs in the fifth. Denard Span singled, Harper walked, and Greg Dobbs bobbled a Ryan Zimmerman grounder, scoring Span and sending Harper to third, from where he would score on a wild pitch to give the Nats a 4-2 lead. The walk was Harper’s 10th consecutive PA in which he reached base, pushing his Spring Training line to an astounding .476/.507/.730. In the bottom of the inning, however, Haren returned to his homer-happy ways and allowed a two-run bomb to Chris Coghlan to tie the game. Miami took a 5-4 lead in the sixth when Stanton crushed his second homer of the game. Haren’s final line was a peculiar one: in six innings, he allowed a reasonable seven hits and one walk, but four of those hits were home runs.
The offense continued to answer, and Roger Bernadina hit a home run in the top of the seventh to draw the teams even again at 5. But the final score would be settled in the bottom of that inning, as the Marlins took advantage of an error by Chad Tracy, a wild pitch, and four hits off Ryan Mattheus to score three runs, one earned, giving them their final 8-5 advantage. Jon Rauch and Ryan Webb shut down the 8th and 9th respectively, despite allowing a hit each, giving the Marlins the win.
Next Game: Wednesday @ St. Louis, 1:05 ET