Washington's seventh-inning, four-home run explosion last night came after six-plus innings of impressive work from Miami left-hander Adam Conley.
Tonight, in the Nationals' third game of four this week in Marlins Park, they jumped out to an early lead on lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen, with a run in the first on a two-out RBI double by Ryan Zimmerman, who drove Anthony Rendon in from first base after the third baseman walked with one down in the opening frame.
Bryce Harper drove Nats' starter Joe Ross in from first with a two-out RBI double to right-center in the third, making it 2-0 with his 4th two-base hit of the season.
Miami loaded up on lefties tonight, hoping to take advantage of the fact that left-handed hitters have a .270/.350/.434 against Joe Ross over 181 plate appearances early in his major league career, (as opposed to right-handed hitters' .163/.195/.242 line against him in 187 career PAs), though left-handers have just a .217/.333/.304 line in a small sample of 27 PAs against Ross this season (vs right-handers' .111/.111/.185 line against Ross in 27 2016 PAs), but the 22-year-old right-hander left the start after just two innings with what the Nationals announced was a blister on the middle finger of his right hand.
Yusmeiro Petit, against whom left-handed hitters had a .272/.334/.484 in his nine-year career before tonight, came on in relief in the third, and tossed two scoreless before the Nationals added to their lead on a solo home run by Michael A. Taylor in the top of the fifth. 3-0 on Taylor's second of 2016.
Derek Dietrich took Petit deep to right-center field on a 1-2 curve ball in the first at bat of the Marlins' fifth, getting the Marlins on the board, down 3-1 after five.
Yusmeiro Petit's Line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 43 P, 32 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Oliver Pérez took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, and retired the Marlins in order in a 12-pitch frame.
Blake Treinen handled the eighth, giving up a one-out single by Adeiny Hechavarria before Marcell Ozuna grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3. Nine-pitch frame.
Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth for his second shot at save No. 6 of 2016 and retired the first two batters before Christian Yelich hit a two-out single to bring Giancarlo Stanton up as the potential tying run.
Stanton stepped in and K'd looking at a 1-2 fastball to end it. Yeah, Pap. Ballgame. 3-1 Nationals final.
Nationals now 11-3
- Marlins' "non-starters" have gone 11 for 33 coming off the bench so far this season, before tonight, for a .333 combined AVG, which is the second-highest average in the NL.
- Wei-Yin Chen is making his fourth start against the Nationals in his home park, though the previous three were at home when he was with the Baltimore Orioles. In those starts, the left-hander has yet to allow more than three runs.
- Joe Ross started the night (1-0) with a 1.04 ERA in two starts and four appearances overall against the Nationals' NL East rivals from Miami.
- Giancarlo Stanton started the night with 25 home runs in 75 career games against the Nationals, and the Fish are 20-4 against Washington in games in which he's hit one.
- In today's Marlins-themed Fun With Arbitrary End Points segment/update: Dee Gordon has multi-hit games in five of his last ten games at home in Miami going back to last season, and the second baseman leads all NL second baseman is second among second baseman league-wide in total hits since 2014, with 397, behind only the Astros' Jose Altuve. Daniel Murphy has 331 over that stretch, good for fifth in the majors.
- The Nationals hit back-to-back blast twice in the seventh inning last night. The Nats, citing Elias Sports Bureau, wrote in today's Game Notes that no team in Expos/Nationals history ever hit two sets of back-to-back blasts in one inning and no team in the majors has done it since Milwaukee did in 2010.
- One of those four home runs was Bryce Harper's grand slam. He hadn't hit a slam for any of his first 99 career home runs, but he now has two after hitting one for his 100th and last night's for HR No. 104.
- Daniel Murphy had an 11-game hit streak going into tonight's game, the longest active streak in the NL at this time, and he'd reached base safely in 26 of 52 plate appearances heading into tonight's game. He extended his streak to 12-straight with a leadoff single in the second.
- Nationals' pitchers, as a staff, started the night with a combined 1.98 ERA, which is the major league's best early this season.
- In today's Nationals-themed Fun with Arbitrary End Points segment, the Nationals, with the win last night, improved to 48-31 against the Marlins... since 2012, when the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins.
Nationals now 11-3