Marlins pound Taylor Hill, Nationals pitching in 15-7 rout


With home field advantage locked up thanks to Doug Fister’s gem in the Friday matinee, the Nationals sent out a young group of players for the nightcap. Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos served as the veteran presence in a lineup that consisted almost entirely of backups and September additions.

The Nationals went just as young on the mound, with Taylor Hill making his first major league start. Hill showed his inexperience, too, especially early on. He allowed the first three batters to reach in the first inning, including an RBI single by Casey McGehee, before a double play allowed him to escape the inning only down 1-0.

The Nats answered quickly, though, stringing together hits of their own. Michael Taylor kick-started the offense with a double, then Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth chalked up back-to-back RBIs. The Nats pushed across their third run of the inning when Werth scored on a Wilson Ramos groundout.

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After the Marlins added another run in the second, and the Nats added one of their own in the third, things quieted down. Hill and Andrew Heaney both appeared to settle into a rhythm. It wasn’t until the top of the fifth inning rolled around that the floodgates opened.

The inning started off promisingly, with Hill recording two quick outs for the Nats before allowing Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones to reach on a HBP and a dinky infield single, respectively. Then the Marlins strung together a double, an intentional walk, a triple and another double. By the time Ross Detwiler had come in and recorded the third out, Miami had managed to heap on five runs and had leapt out to a 7-4 lead.

The Nationals fought back with a run in the fifth, when Jayson Werth scored as Ramos grounded into a double play, and another in the sixth on a Frandsen two-out single. With the deficit at 7-6, Washington even had a chance to tie or take the lead with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, but Ramos grounded out harmlessly to third and ended the threat.

From there, things only went downhill. Tyler Moore’s solo homer in the bottom of the seventh was hardly enough to stand up against the Marlins, who added three runs in the seventh and five more runs in the ninth to push their final total to 15.

On the night, the Marlins pounded the Nats, piling up 22 hits against the seven pitchers Washington deployed on the mound. Hill (4 2/3 IP, 7 ER) earned the loss, but it was Craig Stammen who fared the worst: he allowed 5 earned runs on 6 hits without recording a single out. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Stammen even earns a spot on the postseason roster.

The night may have ended in a lopsided loss, but with the top seed in the National League already locked up, the only real goal of tonight’s game was keeping everyone healthy, and Washington certainly accomplished that. The only real disappointment in the game was that Jayson Werth failed to capitalize on his opportunity in the bottom of the ninth to homer to complete the cycle.

Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, though, the Nats can now shift their focus to October and accomplishing bigger and better things. Tomorrow, the Nats will send out Stephen Strasburg (13-11, 3.23 ERA) to face Nathan Eovaldi (6-13, 4.44 ERA) in a game slated for a 4:05 PM start.