Up 3-1 after one last night, the Washington Nationals held on to beat the Miami Marlins for the seventh time in seven games in Nationals Park in 2013. It wasn't easy, however, the Fish scored another run on back-to-back doubles by Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Ruggiano in the sixth and after Gio Gonzalez finished the inning it was up the Nats' A-pen to close out the 82nd win of the year for the defending NL East Champs.
Gonzalez threw 105 pitches in six innings. Drew Storen gave up a two-out walk and single to put runners on the corners before Christian Yelich lined out to left to end the seventh. Tyler Clippard gave up a two-out single but stranded the runner at the end of the eighth. Rafael Soriano gave up one and two outs walks and was up in the zone with a majority of the 24 pitches he threw on the way to earning his 42nd save of 2013.
"Gio had one of his typical starts where it's 60 pitches or something in three innings," Davey Johnson told reporters after the Nationals improved to 14-4 in September and 30-15 since August 1st.
"He settled down and got some quick innings," Johnson said, "and he got in a little trouble late and got out of it and took it right to the edge. Storen to the edge. Clipp. Then Sori topped it off. But it's nice to come out on top." The Nats, who entered the All-Star Break with a 48-47 record, improved 82-71. The Nationals are now 14-4 against the Marlins this season. They're 28-11 in their last 39. The Nats' 70-year-old skipper has talked often about the things that didn't work out as expected often as the season has wound down, but last night he said the prolonged struggles early are on him.
"I always say, 'Players win'em, managers lose'em,'" Johnson explained. "And the way we played early, you can put that all on me. We've been playing really good lately. And I never lost faith in the talent, but it will be a good year as far as I'm concerned if we win 90 games and I'll take what happens." The Nats will have to win eight of the next nine to hit that mark. The 70-year-old manager has talked all along about taking it one day at time. Tonight, they try to beat the Marlins for the eighth time in eight games in Nationals park this year.
Gio Gonzalez did all he could last night. Jordan Zimmermann's on the hill in Nationals Park tonight.
• Here's the lineup for the Nats' Friday night meeting with the Fish:
Tonight's #Nationals lineup vs. MIA: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Werth 9, Harper 7, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Ramos 2, Rendon 4, Zimmermann 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 20, 2013
More from Federal Baseball:
- On The Nationals; Warnings After HBPs And MLB's Instructions To Umps..
- Denard Span's Hit Streak Ends: Nationals' Outfielder In D.C. Baseball History
- Nationals' Skipper Davey Johnson's Advice For Bryce Harper
- Game 153 WPA: Happy birthday, Gio. Nats 3, Fish 2
- Nationals 3-2 Over Marlins: Bryce Harper's 20th Lifts Nats Over Fish