For the second straight start, A.J. Cole allowed just one earned run, and Washington’s bats woke up after a rough, long weekend in Milwaukee.
Nationals’ hitters combined for eight hits and seven runs in what ended up a 7-2 win in the series opener in Miami’s Marlins Park.
Cole gave up five hits, four walks (not good!) and two runs, one earned, on Giancarlo Stanton’s 53rd home run, but limited the damage in another solid outing, earning a win over the Nats’ NL East rivals for the first time in five major league starts vs the Fish in his career.
The Nationals’ offense, which produced eight runs total as they dropped two of three to the Brewers on the road in Miller Park, collected seven runs tonight against Marlins’ pitching, with Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon each homering and doubling on big three-hit nights for each of the infielders.
Nationals now 83-54
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Dee Gordon started things off with an infield single in the bottom of the first, and the speedy Marlins’ leadoff man stole second and took third on a throwing error by Matt Wieters.
A.J. Cole walked Giancarlo Stanton to put runners on the corners with no one out, and Gordon scored on a grounder up the middle. Trea Turner made a diving play to get the force at second on Gordon’s grounder, but Daniel Murphy threw away an ill-advised attempt at a double play, E:4, 1-0.
• Ryan Zimmerman doubled to left field to start the Nationals’ second, (No. 28), and Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run home run (No. 23) on an 0-1 fastball from Adam Conley that cleared the fence in left, 2-1 Nationals.
Reminding everyone why he's Trea Turner's favorite player. pic.twitter.com/lSj1KHWDyD— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 4, 2017
• Given a lead to work with, A.J. Cole gave up back-to-back singles by Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas in the first two at bats of the Marlins’ second, but Adam Conley K’d trying to bunt in front of Dee Gordon, who lined out to Michael A. Taylor in center for the first out of an inning-ending 8-4 double play that ended the threat when Anderson got doubled up off second. MAT’s 7th outfield assist this season.
• Christian Yelich (with a climbing catch at the scoreboard/wall in center) and then Giancarlo Stanton (charging and sliding in short right) made two impressive catches in the first two at bats of the Nationals’ half of the third, but Daniel Murphy hit one beyond anyone’s reach on a 91 mph 1-1 fastball from Conley. Solo shot to right, 3-1 Nats. Murphy’s 21st.
• Trea Turner threw high on a potential double play after Cole gave up a leadoff single to right by Derek Dietrich and got a one-hop grounder to second in the next at bat. It was the third error of the game for the Nationals (and Turner’s 6th of 2017).
• Adam Conley’s Line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 81 P, 50 S, 3/6 GO/FO.
• Javy Guerra took over for the Marlins in the fifth, working around a two-out single by Murphy in a scoreless frame.
• Giancarlo Stanton took a 2-2 fastball up high outside from A.J. Cole to right field for an opposite field blast with one down in the Marlins’ fifth, hitting his 53rd HR of 2017 into the corner, just inside the pole, to make it a one-run game, 3-2 Nationals.
• Cole came back out for the sixth at 88 pitches, and retired two batters on seven pitches, but a five-pitch, two-out walk ended his outing after 100 pitches overall.
• A.J. Cole’s Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 63 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
That's a night for A.J. Cole who held the Marlins to 2 runs (1 earned) over 5.2 IP. pic.twitter.com/nVqMJVWFQk— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 5, 2017
• Raudy Read collected his first major league hit on a chopper over the mound and off Jarlin Garcia’s glove in the top of the seventh, and back-to-back walks followed as the Nationals loaded the bases with one out.
Daniel Murphy stepped in next and lined a 95 mph 1-2 fastball into the left-center gap for a two-run, ground-rule double that went over the fence on a hop, 5-2.
Anthony Rendon followed with a two-out, two-run double to left field off new pitcher Dustin McGowan, opening up a five-run lead, 7-2.
• Brandon Kintzler worked around a leadoff single in a scoreless seven-pitch seventh.
• Ryan Madson retired the Marlins in order in a 20-pitch eighth.
• Sean Doolittle came on in a non-save situation and worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless ninth... with a little help from Alejandro De Aza. Let’s not make a habit of this, hey, Doolittle? Ballgame. Final Score: 7-2 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Miami, after dropping three straight to Washington during the Nationals’ last homestand, still holds a 122-113 advantage on the all-time series between the two teams, though the Nats are 57-35 against the Marlins since 2013.
- This week’s three-game set is the last of the season for the Nationals and Marlins. The Nats are 10-6 against the Fish so far this season heading into tonight’s game.
- Miami is in the midst of a five-game losing streak against the Nationals, its longest against Washington since dropping six straight from between July 30th and September 26th of 2014.
- With Saturday night’s win in Milwaukee, Washington secured a winning record on the year for the sixth consecutive season.
- Ryan Zimmerman hit his 30th home run of the season on Sunday, and is just three shy of his career-high of 33 set in 2009, and his highest total since then.
- Zimmerman started the night with an eight-game hitting streak going, over which he’d gone 9 for 26 (.346 AVG).
- Dee Gordon started the night with a streak of seven consecutive multi-hit games, over which he’s gone 15 for 30 (.500 AVG) since that streak began on August 27th.
- Nationals’ starters began the series opener with a 2.52 ERA in their last 25 starts, which leads the NL over that stretch.
- A.J. Cole was making his 5th career start against the Marlins, and looking for his first win after going (0-2) in the previous outings.
Nationals now 83-54