The Nationals won their last game before the all star break against the Florida Marlins 5-2 in a game that went ten innings. Unlike the previous game, the Nationals found a way to break through against Steve Cishek.
Davey Johnson shook up the lineup again in an attempt to stir the Nationals’ bats into action. He had Bryce Harper hit leadoff, moved Denard Span to seventh, and had Adam LaRoche hit fourth and Jayson Werth hit fifth. The move paid off for Span, who was 3 for 5 with two RBI’s.
Taylor Jordan started his fourth game as a Nat, and pitched well. He gave up two runs in his six innings pitched. The only damage the Marlins inflicted on him was in the fourth inning, when Derek Dietrich homered with Marcell Ozuna on base. His only clean innings were the first and the sixth. He dealt with baserunners in the other innings and did not allow them to score except for the fourth inning.
Until then, the Nationals had lead by one run on a RBI double by Denard Span that scored Adam LaRoche in the top of the second. The Nationals were getting runners on against Henderson Alvarez, but could not drive them in. The Nats stranded ten on the bases during the first nine innings of the game. The Nationals second run was scored in the bottom of the seventh. Harper drew a walk, and Anthony Rendon drilled a double to score Harper from first. That at least insured a no decision for Jordan, who had pitched well enough to deserve better.
The Nationals did not homer during the series with the Marlins, although they hit deep balls to center field on a consistent basis. The Nationals finally figured out that doubles off the wall in right center would score runs. Four of the five Nationals runs scored during the game came from batters getting doubles off the wall in right center.
Ian Krol faced two batters in the seventh, getting Greg Dobbs to pop out and giving up a single to Jeff Mathis. Drew Storen replaced Krol and got out of the inning without giving up another hit. Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth, and struck out Giancarlo Stanton, Ozuna and Dietrich. Craig Stammen threw a perfect ninth.
With the score tied two all, the game went into the tenth. Cishek, who had faced two batters in the top of the ninth, continued to pitch for the Marlins. LaRoche grounded out. Up came Werth, who singled. Ian Desmond hit into a fielder’s choice. Werth was out at second and Desmond was standing on first with two outs. Span hit his second RBI double of the day, scoring Desmond. Wilson Ramos then crushed a ball to deep left. It was an RBI single for Ramos, with Span scoring easily from second. The Marlins then replaced Cishek with Dan Jennings to face pinch hitter Chad Tracy. The result was the same. Tracy doubled off the wall in right center, scoring Ramos. With three runs scored in the top of the tenth, Harper ground out to end the inning for the Nationals.
Now the Nats just needed to hang on. Rafael Soriano, fresh off his blown save the night before, came in to try to get the save and preserve the win the Nationals desperately needed. As usual, it was a bit scary. Soriano got Ed Lucas to ground out for the first out, but then gave up a double to Juan Pierre. Placido Polanco grounded out, moving Pierre to third. Soriano then had to face Stanton, who homered off him the night before to get the game to extra innings, the game the Marlins eventually won. This time the outcome was better–Stanton grounded out to end the game.
Next Game: The Nationals, like the rest of major league baseball, are on the all star break. The next Nationals game is at Nationals Park on Friday, July 19th against the LA Dodgers. Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.99 ERA) is scheduled to start the game, as Johnson has stated his intent to put the rotation back into the same order it had on opening day.
Don’t despair about there being no game for nearly a week. Bryce Harper will participate in the home run derby Monday Night at 8PM EST on ESPN. On Tuesday, the All Star Game will be played starting at 8PM EST at Citi Field in New York City. The All Star Game airs on Fox. How you choose to entertain yourself on Wednesday and Thursday nights is up to you.