The Miami Marlins beat the Washington Nationals, 5-1, Sunday afternoon to earn a series split in D.C. Jose Fernandez struck out eleven batters in seven innings of work, tainted only by an inside-the-park home run off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman.
After splitting the double-header on Saturday, the Nats (23-15) entered Sunday’s contest winners of four of their last six. Joe Ross took the mound for the home team, looking to bounce back after his last start in which the young right-hander allowed five runs in the club’s sole loss to Detroit.
Ross (3-3, 2.63 ERA) cruised through the first two innings, retiring the first six hitters he faced. The Marlins (20-17) would get rolling in the third, however. J.T. Realmuto and Adeiny Hechavarria led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Fernandez bunted the runners to second and third, Joe Ross was in deep water with two runners in scoring position and only one out.
Ross appeared to get out of the jam by forcing consecutive pop ups by Derek Dietrich and Martin Prado, but Stephen Drew lost Prado’s ball in the sun and just missed the catch. Realmuto and Hechavarria came around to score to make it 2-0 Miami.
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The Nats struggled to get much of anything going against Jose Fernandez (5-2, 3.21) all afternoon, but they were able to push one run across in the fourth with a bit of good luck. Ryan Zimmerman, who entered the game with only one hit in the series, smacked a deep fly ball to right field. Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton both ran over to make the catch, but collided right in front of the wall. The ball landed between the two of them, and Zimmerman made it all the way around the bases before either of them got up. Both players remained in the game.
Things got dicey for Joe Ross in the sixth. With one out in the frame, Stanton hit his eleventh homer of the year with a little help from the wind. Unfortunately for Washington, the Marlins would not stop there. After Ross intentionally walked Hechavarria to get Fernandez to the plate, the Miami pitcher promptly hit the first pitch into right field for a two-out, two-RBI single that gave the visitors a 5-1 lead.
Fernandez would be the final batter Joe Ross saw Sunday. He exited the game responsible for five runs (three earned) on seven hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over five and two-thirds innings of work. Oliver Perez relieved his starter in the sixth and retired Dietrich to end the inning. Jose Fernandez was able to throw seven strong frames for the Marlins, striking out eleven Nats while giving up only the one run with four hits and three walks.
The Nats’ bullpen was very effective and kept the Marlins off the board through the ninth. Yusmeiro Petit threw two scoreless innings and Blake Treinen pitched around a leadoff bunt single in the final frame to give Washington one last chance down by four.
The Nationals were able to threaten scoring at the start of the inning; Danny Espinosa hit a leadoff single and Stephen Drew followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. Marlins manager Don Mattingly then turned to closer A.J. Ramos to finish out the game. Ramos promptly retired Michael Taylor, Ben Revere, and pinch-hitting Daniel Murphy to end the game.
Next Up: The Nats have the day off Monday before traveling to New York for a key three-game set with the Mets. Max Scherzer (4-2, 4.15) will be taking the mound for the first time since his 20-strikeout performance only to face Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 2.53), who has brilliant for New York so far this season.