WASHINGTON, D.C.: The streaks all came to an disappointing end this afternoon in a 10-2 Washington Nationals’ loss in the series finale with the Miami Marlins in Nationals Park.
Washington’s 14-game winning streak against their NL East rivals from Miami, the Nationals’ three-game winning streak, and Mark Reynolds’ 8 for 8 streak at the plate, they all came to an end.
Tanner Roark struggled again on the mound, giving up 10 hits for the second consecutive start, and the Nationals went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position overall in the game, with 11 left on base on the day.
Roark vs the Fish: Going back to the start of May, Tanner Roark had put up a 5.19 ERA and a .279/.349/.462 line against in 12 games, 11 starts, and 67 2⁄3 innings pitched before today, over which he’d gone (1-8) with the Nationals 3-9 in his outings.
He was asked after his last start, in which he gave up 10 hits and nine runs in seven innings, if this has been the roughest stretch in his career. “No,” Roark said.
“I would say last year, all of last year,” he explained, “so I learned last year in the second half not to let things get to me and go out there and still give 105-110-115 pitches, however many pitches I can.”
Going up against the Miami Marlins this afternoon in the series finale in D.C., Roark worked around a hit-by-pitch (on the Nationals’ favorite target, Derek Dietrich), two singles, and an error in a scoreless, 22-pitch first, but back-to-back-to-back singles in the second led to the first run of the game for the Fish, 1-0.
A second hit-by-pitch on Dietrich loaded the bases up later in the second, and a two-out opposite field single by J.T. Realmuto on a 1-0 fastball up and over the plate made it 3-0.
A leadoff single, one-out walk, and sac bunt in the third put two runners in scoring position for Dietrich in his third plate appearance, but he walked this time up, and a Brian Anderson grounder to third got Roark out of another jam.
J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro singled one out apart in the fourth, with the hit-and-run on when Castro sent a grounder through the right side to send the Marlins’ catcher around to third. Roark caught Martin Prado looking with a 3-2 slider for out No. 2, but JT Riddle hit a 1-0 fastball to right for an RBI single that made it a 4-2 game in Miami’s favor.
Roark’s 23-pitch frame left him at 102 total, and he was done for the day.
Tanner Roark’s Line: 4.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 102 P, 62 S, 5/0 GO/FO.
Richards vs the Nats: Trevor Richards signed with the Marlins as an undrafted free agent in July of 2016, and worked his way up through the organization to make his MLB debut earlier this season.
Through 11 starts, the 25-year-old right-hander had gone (2-5) with a 5.26 ERA, 22 walks, 48 Ks, and a .284/.359/.441 line against in 53 innings before today.
Armed with a low-90s fastball (91-93), mid-80s change (82-85), and a low 80s curve (80-82), against which opposing hitters had .319, .206, and .333 AVGs, respectively, Richards took on the Nationals this afternoon for the first time in his career.
Trevor Richards known to let the change...— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 8, 2018
mmM, DRRROP. pic.twitter.com/KWXKQ2QDvg
After the Marlins gave Richards a 3-0 lead to work with in the top of the second, he walked the first batter he faced, Mark Reynolds, then gave up three straight hits (all singles, by Matt Adams, Daniel Murphy, and Spencer Kieboom) as the Nats got on the board and loaded the bases with no one out. Three quick outs followed as the right-hander managed to limit the damage.
The Nationals loaded’em up with one out in the bottom of the third, with a walk by Juan Soto, double by Mark Reynolds, and a walk by Matt Adams, and Murphy hit a sac fly line drive to left to make it a one-run game, 3-2 Fish, but that’s all they got.
It was 4-2 when Richards came back out for the fourth and gave up back-to-back walks to Michael A. Taylor and Adam Eaton, and a one-out, intentional walk to Bryce Harper to load them up for a reliever...
Trevor Richards’ Line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 5 Ks, 87 P, 46 S, 2/1 GO/FO.
Reynolds Watch: With a walk-off home run on Friday and a 5 for 5, 10 RBI night on Saturday, Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was determined to find a way to keep Mark Reynolds in the lineup for today’s series finale with the Fish. He settled on starting the veteran infielder at third base, giving Anthony Rendon a break, and though Reynolds (who had four innings at third this season, and before that hadn’t played there since 2015) committed a throwing error in the first, his presence in the lineup paid off as he walked in his first trip to the plate, and scored the Nationals’ first run, then doubled into the left-center gap the second time up, leaving him 7 for his last 7 with a walk.
The bases were loaded when Reynolds stepped in against reliever Drew Rucinski in his third trip to the plate, and grounded out to short to end the threat and his streak. Awwww. It was fun while it lasted.
BULLPEN ACTION: Marlins’ reliever Drew Rucinski did the impossible, retiring the mighty Mark Reynolds for the final out of the Nationals’ fourth.
Matt Grace took over on the mound for the Nationals in the top of the fifth, and worked around a leadoff single in a 10-pitch frame.
Adam Conley needed 11 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth.
Grace stranded two runners in an 18-pitch sixth: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 K, 28P.
Trea Turner reached base on a strikeout/passed ball with two out in the bottom of the sixth, but was stranded as Conley completed a second scoreless frame.
Justin Miller gave up a single by Yadiel Rivera in the first at bat of the seventh, stole second, and scored on an RBI single to right by Derek Dietrich, 5-2, and a grounder up the middle of the infield got by Trea Turner’s glove to make it a 6-2 game.
After 7, the Fish lead this one 6-2. pic.twitter.com/JPavHCyQVa— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 8, 2018
Drew Steckenrider worked around a walk for a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Brandon Kintzler tossed a scoreless, 17-pitch top of the eighth inning, to keep it a four-run game, but Brad Ziegler held the Nationals off the board in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Madson gave up a leadoff walk, one-out single, and a two-run double in the ninth as the Marlins added to their lead, 8-2, then 9-2 on a double by Martin Prado, and 10-2 on an RBI single by JT Riddle.
Mark Reynolds made his MLB debut... as a pitcher at that point, getting the final out of the inning with a 2-0 curve to Bryan Holaday, who will likely never live that down. Still 10-2 Fish.
Bryce Harper walked with two down in the ninth to give popular pitcher Mark Reynolds an at bat, and he lined a single to right. But that was it.
Final Score: 10-2 Marlins
Nationals now 45-44