Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
On a night when Jordan Zimmerman exited after only 1 2/3 innings, the Nationals fell behind by five to the visiting Miami Marlins, briefly took then lost the lead, and ultimately won 10-7 on a Jayson Werth grand slam in the eighth.
Zimmerman surrendered two early runs, laboring through a 34 pitch first inning as he struggled with his control. The Marlins then added three more in the second on a RBI single by left fielder Christian Yelich, followed by a two run homer by second baseman Derek Dietrich.
Making his first start of the season, Marlins starting pitcher Brad Hand pitched well until tiring in the fourth. It was then that Bryce Harper connected on a Hand fastball, hitting a three-run home run, his first of the season, into the upper deck over the right field foul pole. After scoring once more in the fifth, the Nats scored two in the sixth to take the lead 6-5. With the bases loaded and only one out, the Nats failed to score again, and in the seventh Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game 6-6 with a home run off of Drew Storen.
In the eighth, Yelich scored the go ahead run when first baseman Garrett Jones doubled off of Tyler Clippard (1-1). Yelich proved an especially elusive out for the Nats as he finished the night 3-for-4, walking twice and scoring three times. This night, however, belonged to Werth and the Nats.
With runners on second and third, Marlins reliever Carlos Marmol (0-1) intentionally walked Anthony Rendon, loading the bases for Werth. With the bags full in the sixth, Werth flew out to center to end the inning, but this time he caught up with a Marmol fastball and deposited it into the left field bullpen. Rafael Soriano made it exciting in the ninth but recorded his second save with a Yelich groundout to second.
Harper entered Wednesday not having a multi-hit game this season, but tonight he went 2-for-4. Rendon went 2-for-4 with a triple while Ryan Zimmerman, who started at third for the first time since exiting Saturday’s game against Atlanta with shoulder soreness, went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Werth drove in five. Nationals relievers combined for 7 1/3, giving up seven hits, two earned runs, and striking out 10. The Marlins outhit the Nats 14 to 11, but it was the edge in home runs, 2 to 1, that proved the difference.