In my pre-game chat with Ehsan Kassim over at Marlin Maniac, I predicted the Nationals would take this series 2 games to 1. Hopefully I was just incorrect about which game the Marlins would win. Even fancy Memorial Day caps weren’t enough to deliver the Nationals a Game 1 victory today, as they fell to the Marlins 5-3 with Jordan Zimmermann getting the loss and Carlos Zambrano getting the victory.
Zimmermann had an all-around solid outing and even hit a home run, however a few missed pitches would cost him. Zimmermann would go 6.0 innings, giving up 8 hits, 4 runs (all earned) including the 2 homers to Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison, and 4 strikeouts. The loss gives Zimmermann a 3-5 record on the year and closes the Nationals lead on the Mets and Marlins (because of this game) to 2.5 games.
Ryan Perry would have a rare quiet appearance in relief, pitching a perfect 8th inning and keeping the score at 5-3. Perry also lowered his season ERA to 9.39 (hold your applause people).
Steven Lombardozzi would lead an offense that would score 3 runs in the first 5 innings, however Lombo’s 3 hits would go to waste as the Nationals bats would be silent the rest of the game; being shut out across the final 4 frames. Ryan Zimmerman had two clutch RBIs in the 5th inning, but would ground into a 6-4-3 double play to ruin a 7th inning rally. Zimmerman would finish the day 1-4, his only hit coming on the 400-foot 2-RBI double off the left-center field scoreboard in the 5th inning.
Carlos Maldonado got the start at catcher today after Jesus Flores was listed as day-to-day after suffering a strained hamstring running the bases in last night’s 7-2 win over the Braves. Corey Brown also made his first appearance of 2012 replacing Chad Tracy, who also suffered an injury in the series against Atlanta. Brown went 0-1, a flyout to center that ended the game. He originally came to Washington with Henry Rodriguez in the Josh Willingham trade, and made 3 big-league plate appearances in 2011 before an injury shut him down for the final few weeks of the season.
Tracy was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin injury and surgery remains a possibility.
Champ of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi has been an absolute catalyst when he’s been in the lineup this year, and today was no different. Lombo recorded three hits and scored once, increasing his season average to .323. As much a candidate for NL Rookie of the Year as anyone in baseball right now. Gotta love Lombo.
For the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton hit the game-tying 2-run homer; a large factor in a 3-run 6th for the Marlins. Stanton’s shot was his 11th of the season, all coming in May.
Chump of the Game: Danny Espinosa had another 0-4 day, dropping his season average to .213. Despite making a solid play on a 3rd-inning fly ball by Omar Infante, Espinosa had a terrible game as a whole. Has he lost a step?
Omar Infante had an identical box score to that of Espinosa, also going 0-4, except for Infante, it was out of the 2-hole. Infante has to hit hotter if the Marlins are going to continue catching up to the Nationals and capture first place.
Unsung Hero: Ryan Zimmerman hit the go-ahead 2-run double in the 5th inning that accounted for 2 of the 3 Nationals runs. Good to see Ryan hitting so hot as of late.
With Stanton hitting the game-tying homer, it’s easy to overlook the huge day by Logan Morrison of the Marlins. LoMo hit 2-4 with a home run and a double, scoring twice and driving in one.
Next Game: Tuesday, May 29th in Miami. Sanchez (2-3, 2.87 ERA) v. Jackson (1-2, 3.38 ERA)