Jackie Robinson Day Top 5:
5. "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.":
Quick Recap: Giancarlo Stanton got all of an 88 mph 2-1 change from Stephen Strasburg and hit a 420+ foot home run to straight center in Marlins Park for a 3-0 lead early in the second game of three for the Washington Nationals in Miami. It was 6-0 after two when Adeiny Hechavarria tripled to start the second and scored the first run of the frame. Casey McGehee hit a two-out, two-run single to left on a first-pitch curve from Strasburg, and the Nats were down by six after two in Florida.
Derek Dietrich singled and Adeiny Hechavarria walked with one down in the Marlins' fifth, and Nats' right-hander Craig Stammen made an ill-advised attempt to cut down the lead runner when the opposing pitcher tried to bunt both runners over. Stammen's throw to third sailed into left and allowed two runs to score as Miami took an 8-0 lead in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna gave Giancarlo Stanton another at bat with runners on and his chopper toward third got by Anthony Rendon and drove two more in to make it 10-0 before Stanton himself scored on a Garrett Jones' single to right to make it 11-0 Marlins.
Tom Koehler threw seven scoreless, walking five but allowing just one hit.
Bryce Harper singled with two down in the Nationals' eighth, stole second on a wild pitch and scored when Steven Souza, Jr. singled to center for his first MLB hit and Marlins' center fielder Marcell Ozuna made a throwing error on the play. 11-1 Marlins.
Zach Walters took a first pitch fastball from Dan Jennings the other way for a solo blast in the ninth. Walters' first major league home run made it 11-2 Marlins.
The Miami Marlins cruised to an 11-2 win and ended an eight-game losing streak.
Thank You Jackie Robinson #42 pic.twitter.com/s66InTBe3V— Sandy Leon (@sandyleon41) April 15, 2014
4. "The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.":
Stephen Strasburg faced Miami six days ago in the nation's capital. In 6 2/3 innings on the mound, the 25-year-old right-hander surrendered three hits, one walk and one earned run on a home run by Marlins' outfielder Marcell Ozuna, while striking out 12 batters and throwing 98 pitches overall.
"He pitched really well," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after that outing. "Used his fastball, kept his pitch count down today."
"He threw some breaking balls, threw a few sliders," Williams continued. "But anybody that throws that hard, as a hitter, you have to be in swing-mode expecting fastball certainly and his changeup was really good off of it today and he used it a lot."
The key to Strasburg's success, Williams explained was that he established his fastball first.
"I just think he established the fastball early and again, they came out aggressive and that happens with Stephen," Williams said. "Teams swing early against him, so he was able to establish it and work his changeup off of it and strike one is the key."
With the win in Nationals Park, Strasburg improved to (7-3) in 15 career starts against the Marlins, over which the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick has posted a 3.69 ERA with 24 walks (2.77 BB/9) and 80 Ks (9.23 K/9) in 78 IP, holding opposing hitters to a .223/.286/.359 so far in his career.
In Marlins Park, however, where he started in the second game of three with Miami tonight, Strasburg was just (2-2) heading in, with a 7.58 ERA, eight walks (3.79 BB/9) and 19 Ks (9.00 K/9) in four starts and 19 IP in the Marlins' home over which Fish hitters had a combined .296/.367/.432 line against him.
1st: Stephen Strasburg missed with first-pitch fastball to Marlins' leadoff man Christian Yelich, and gave up a single to right on a 94 mph 1-0 heater on the second pitch he threw. Marcell Ozuna took Strasburg's third pitch through the left side of the infield on a line for the second consecutive hit in the home-half of the frame. Strasburg fell behind Giancarlo Stanton in the next at bat, and gave up a three-run blast on an 88 mph 2-1 change that went out to center and over Nate McLouth's head and the high lime green center field wall. 3-0 Marlins.
A groundout to first by Garrett Jones and swinging K by Casey McGehee followed in the next two at bats.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia took a first-pitch fastball to right for a two-out single, but Derek Dietrich's lineout to second ended an 18-pitch first by Strasburg. 3-0 Fish.
2nd: Adeiny Hechavarria took a first-pitch fastball to center for a leadoff triple in the Marlins' second. Tom Koehler K'd swinging at a 1-2 change for out no.1 of the second and K no.2 on the night for Strasburg. Christian Yelich worked the count full in his second at bat of the game, and took a close, low fastball that home plate umpire Marty Foster called ball four. Marcell Ozuna hit a sharp grounder toward short in the next at bat that bounced off Ian Desmond's glove for an RBI infield single and a 4-0 Marlins' lead. An intentional walk to Giancarlo Stanton loaded the bases for Garrett Jones, who grounded to first and into a force at home when Adam LaRoche threw to the plate. Casey McGehee got a two-out opportunity, and busted things open with a two-run single to left on a first-pitch curve, making it 6-0 early. 26-pitch inning for Strasburg, 44 overall after two.
3rd: Derek Dietrich worked a leadoff walk in the first at bat of the Marlins' third. Strasburg blew Adeiny Hechavarria away with an 0-2 fastball for out no.1 of the third and K no.3 of the game. Tom Koehler bunted Dietrich over to second in front of Christian Yelich, who K'd looking at an 0-2 change to end a 14-pitch inning that left Strasburg at 58 overall with four Ks in 3 IP.
4th: Stephen Strasburg was up to 67 pitches when he walked Marcell Ozuna in front of Giancarlo Stanton in the Marlins' fourth. Stanton K'd swinging at a 3-2 change inside for out no.1 of the fourth and Strasburg's 5th K. Garrett Jones popped out to short on a 94 mph 1-2 fastball for out no.2 and Casey McGehee grounded into a force at second to end a 23-pitch inning that left Strasburg at 81 overall.
Stephen Strasburg's Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 81 P, 54 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
Honored to wear #42 today.— Jerry Blevins (@JerryBlevins_13) April 15, 2014
3. "There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.":
Key Matchup: Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 4 with three Ks in last Thursday's series finale in the nation's capital, with two of the four Ks that day in three at bats against Stephen Strasburg. The 0 for 3 day vs Strasburg left the Marlins' 24-year-old slugger 8 for 24 career vs the Nats' starter, with a .333/.385/.750 line, four doubles and two home runs in 26 PAs against the 25-year-old right-hander.
Stanton stepped to the plate for the first time tonight with two runners on after back-to-back singles by Marlins' leadoff man Christian Yelich and center fielder Marcell Ozuna. Strasburg fell behind 2-1 to Stanton, and threw him an 88 mph change that ended up soaring out to center, over the high lime green outfield wall and into the bushes above the fence for a three-run blast that made it 3-0 early. 9 for 25, three home runs for Stanton in 27 PAs vs Strasburg.
There were two runners on again the second time Stanton stepped up and a 1-1 wild pitch moved both of them into scoring position, so the Nationals walked the Marlins' three-hole hitter intentionally after that.
Marcell Ozuna walked to start the fourth and bring Stanton up with at least a runner on for the third time tonight. Strasburg fell behind 3-1 to the Marlins' slugger and threw a darting change inside to get a swinging strike two. Another change got a swinging K for the second out of the frame. 9 for 26 for Stanton vs Strasburg.
2. "If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.":
Benches Clear: After Marlins' starter Tom Koehler knocked Jayson Werth down with ball four inside, the right-hander lost one inside that came in on Ian Desmond, who asked the pitcher politely to throw the ball over the plate. Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn't like the Nats' shortstop jawing at his pitcher so he got in Desmond's face and both benches and bullpens quickly emptied onto the field though nothing came of the confrontation...
Tweet didn't go through before. Here's the view field level. Werth buzzed. Then Desmond. He objects. Benches clear pic.twitter.com/ev1DEIcO06— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) April 16, 2014
It's a must we pay homage to the man who sacrificed so much to make it possible for us to do what we love today! #JackieRobinsonDay #42— Brian Goodwin (@ML_Bg0oD) April 15, 2014
1. "How you played in yesterday's game is all that counts.":
After he retired the Nationals in order in the top of the fifth, Marlins' starter Tom Koehler had retired 13 of 14 batters he faced after issuing back-to-back, two-out walks in the first and completed five scoreless in which he allowed just one hit by a Nationals team that put up nine runs on 16 hits in the series opener on Monday night.
Koehler and the Marlins were up 11-0 when the right-hander retook the mound for the sixth.
Anthony Rendon walked to start the inning, but three outs later he was stranded at first and Koehler had retired 16 of 18 after the back-to-back, two-out walks in the first...
Koehler returned to the mound for the seventh and gave up a two-out walk to Nate McLouth but nothing else as he completed his seventh scoreless frame.
Koehler's line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 112 P, 64 S, 9/5 GO/FO.
Matt Williams on everyone wearing #42 to honor Jackie Robinson: "What it signifies to me is that we're all the same. We're all ballplayers."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 15, 2014
Marlins win a laugher, 11-2 final.
Nationals now 8-6