Washington took a 1-0 lead early in the first game of three with Miami when Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche's RBI line drive to left drove Jayson Werth in from second after a two-out double by the Nats' right fielder off Marlins' right-hander Henderson Alvarez.
Alvarez, the Marlins' 23-year-old starter, shut the Nationals down over the next four innings, however, keeping things close through five, but the Nats added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Bryce Harper singled to left took third on another hit by LaRoche and then scored on a "missed catch error" by Fish backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Alvarez bounced a pitch outside off of his catcher, who recovered and threw to second when LaRoche broke from first, allowing Harper to score easily from third when Jeff Baker dropped Saltalamacchia's throw.
Another wild pitch by Alvarez on ball four to Ian Desmond allowed LaRoche to take third, and Anthony Rendon connected for one of his two hits in the at bat that followed, bringing LaRoche in too as the Nats jumped out to a 3-0 lead in what ended up a 5-0 win.
The Nationals' aggressive approach on the basepaths was something Matt Williams said afterwards they talked about in preparing to face Alvarez, who's allowed just five stolen bases in 362 1/3 IP in the majors, but is prone to bouncing a few pitches (11 wild pitches).
"Tonight with Alvarez," Williams explained, "he's not a guy you can really steal bases on, but he does throw a lot of balls in the dirt. So it's something we talked about before the game. If we get an opportunity to do that, be ready for it and be alive for it. And it's part of the game plan going in."
Taking advantage of those opportunities and taking an aggressive approach is something the Nats' skipper has stressed since taking over on the Nationals' bench.
"We have to make sure to take advantage of those opportunities," Williams said. "So as long as we're prepared for it and we're expecting it, then we're able to do it. If you don't expect it then you're a tick late all the time. So, it's something that -- those little things within the game that we want to make sure that we're good at. And that's one of the things that we want to make sure that we're good at. Advancing on a ball in the dirt if it gets away from the catcher and things like that."
We talked about the aggressive approach, Anthony Rendon's hot start, LaRoche's willingness to take what pitchers are giving him and more after the Nationals' win on last night's edition of Nats Nightly with Dave Nichols from the District Sports Page and FBB's Doghouse: