On a night that saw Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy connect for three hits each, with both Washington Nationals hitting doubles and home runs, Giancarlo Stanton connect for his 53rd home run, and A.J. Cole put together what Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker said was the right-hander’s best start since he’s been managing the Nationals, the biggest play of the game might have been Michael A. Taylor’s inning-ending catch and double play/outfield assist in the second.
Rendon’s 23rd home run of the season put the Nationals up 2-1 on the Marlins in the top of the second inning, but Miami’s rookie third baseman Brian Anderson and Fish shortstop Miguel Rojas hit back-to-back singles off Cole to start the home-half of the inning, and the Marlins were set to strike back.
Adam Conley K’d trying to bunt though, and Dee Gordon stepped in next and sent a line drive to left-center... that Taylor tracked down in the gap.
Taylor made a running catch and threw on the run back to second to catch Anderson desperately trying to return to the base. He didn’t make it...
The inning-ending 8-4 double play left Giancarlo Stanton standing in the on-deck circle instead of giving him a two-on, two-out at bat against Cole.
“That was real important for Michael to run that down,” Baker told reporters after what ended up a 7-2 win.
“A lot of times defense goes unnoticed,” Baker continued, “but that was a huge play, especially that time of the game, cause those guys can get off and running and I’ve seen them score a bunch of runs in a hurry, and it cleared the bases, I mean, that was great.”
“We get first and second there and we don’t get a bunt down, hurts us a little bit,” Marlins’ skipper Don Mattingly said.
Asked about Taylor’s catch, Mattingly said it’s one of those situations where the runner just can’t get doubled up.
“That’s an area that it’s just one of those plays that -- we talked about it in between innings — that that’s one of those plays where you really can’t get doubled there,” he said.
“If the ball bounces and you get thrown out at third, we’re still hitting with [Stanton] there. That’s just one of those things that he’s a guy that’s a young player and we just want to continue to make sure he learns and make sure he’s staying aggressive, but that’s one of those that you’ve just got to play with [what] the situation of the game tells you what to do. It’s a fairly tough read, it looks like it could drop, but the one thing you can’t do is basically get doubled, and [have Stanton] not hit in the inning with two guys on.”
The outfield assist was Michael A. Taylor’s seventh of the season.