Dan Haren's last outing against the Miami Marlins was a particularly tough one for the 32-year-old right-hander, coming as it did after a 2 2/3 inning start against New York at home in Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park which saw the Mets score seven runs on nine hits before the Nats' starter was lifted with two down in the third. Haren gave up six hits and five runs against Miami in Marlins Park last time he faced the Fish and after the game he spoke openly with reporters about what has been a frustrating year for the 11-year veteran who struggled throughout the first half, only to come back strong after a DL stint and put together a string of impressive starts.
"I'm at a loss for words with just the way my season's gone," Haren said. "To be pretty bad for two or three months and then have two months of being great and then two starts in-a-row where I can't get into the fourth inning, I mean, I have no explanation for it. I feel terrible about it from the team standpoint and personally obviously I don't feel good about it either." Haren rebounded again in his last two starts before today's, however, giving up just one run in 12 IP in Nats' wins over the Mets and Atlanta Braves.
Haren's 29th start of the season and his 14th at home in D.C. began with two quick outs, but a two-out double by Christian Yelich and a two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton made it 2-0 Marlins early in the third game of four between the NL East divison rivals. Stanton's HR was his 24th of 2013 and his 13th in 29 career games in the nation's capital. Haren needed 25 pitches to get through the first.
The Marlins went down in order in an 11-pitch second that had Haren up to 36 pitches total after two. Ian Desmond got hit on the elbow with a 1-2 fastball from Tom Koehler, but two outs later he was stranded at first at the end of a 16-pitch inning that had the Miami right-hander at 28 total after two. 2-0.
Christian Yelich was 2 for 2 with a double and a home run after he took a 3-1 cutter from Dan Haren to right and over the out-of-town scoreboard to make it 3-0 early in the first game of today's doubleheader in D.C. Yelich's fourth. Haren's 27th HR allowed in 2013. Haren threw 18 pitches in the third, leaving him at 54 overall after three. Tom Koehler had a one-hitter through three after an eight-pitch third that had him at 36 overall, and up 3-0.
Placido Polanco and Adeiny Hechavarria hit back-to-back one-out singles in the top of the fourth, but Haren struck Jeff Mathis out and got the opposing pitcher to roll into an inning-ending 6-4-3. Haren's 17-pitch inning had him up to 71 pitches overall. Tom Koehler had a streak of 14 scoreless innings going after he retired the Nationals in order in a 14-pitch fourth that had him up to 50 total and up 3-0 after four innings pitched.
Donovan Solano lined a single to center with one down in the Marlins' fifth, but he was doubled up on a Christian Yelich grounder to short that started a 6-4-3 and ended an 11-pitch inning with Haren up to 82 pitches after five innings of work. Adeiny Hechavarria threw Ian Desmond out on a groundout to short from the Nationals' shortstop. Nats' first basebam Adam LaRoche connected for the second Nationals' hit of the game with one down, but Steve Lombardozzi grounded into an inning ending DP that made it 3-0 Marlins after five in D.C.
Logan Morrison hit an opposite field single to left with one down in the top of the sixth and then moved up to second on a Placido Polanco groundout. Haren issued a two-out walk to Adeiny Hechavarria but Jeff Mathis grounded into a force to end a 17-pitch inning that had Haren up to 99 after five and a half in Nationals Park. 3-0 Marlins. Denard Span took a two-out walk from Tom Koehler in the sixth, and the Fish right-hander's scoreless inning streak ended at 15 when Ryan Zimmerm-- THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-out, two-run home run into the Red Porch seats to make it a one-run game after six. 3-2 Miami.
After the Nationals got on the board and into the game, Ryan Mattheus took over on the mound and pinch hitter Juan Pierre singled, stole second and took third on a wild pitch before the right-hander had recorded an out. A walk to Chris Coghlan drew boos from the crowd and a Donovan Solano sac fly gave the Marlins a two-run lead. 4-2 after six and a half in D.C. Miami lefty Mike Dunn retired Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Drew Storen gave up back-to-back two-out singles by Placido Polanco and Adeiny Hechavarria, but struck Jeff Mathis out to end the top of the eighth with the score still 4-2 Marlins. Steve Lombardozzi singled to start the Nats' eighth, but rookie infielder Zach Walters grounded into a 4-3 DP. Chad Tracy's pop short left ended the bottom of the eighth inning in Nationals Park. Still 4-2 Fish.
Erik Davis took over for the Nationals in the top of the ninth inning and gave up a two-out single to right by Donovan Solano before striking Christian Yelich out to end a scoreless inning of work. Steve Cisek came on to close it in the bottom of the inning and struck Denard Span out with a 2-2 sinker. Ryan Zimmerman took a low 2-2 sinker for a called strike three. Jayson Werth popped out to first to end it. 4-2 final. Marlins win.
Nationals now 83-72