Going into last night’s game, the NL East’s fifth-place Miami Marlins were on something of a roll. Coming off a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, they were 11-10 in June and 7-4 in their previous 11 games, with four straight wins heading into the series opener against the visiting Washington Nationals.
Davey Martinez’s squad jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Juan Soto hitting a two-run single in the top of the third, Howie Kendrick driving in a run with a groundout, and Trea Turner’s 3-run HR putting the visiting team ahead in what ended up a 6-1 win.
“It was a good way to start the road trip,” Martinez said after the game.
“[The Marlins have] been playing really well, but we’ve got to feed off of that and come back ready to play again tomorrow.
“They’re good, and they’ve got some pretty good young players, so, and their pitching has been really good, so we’ve just got to enjoy the win tonight and come back tomorrow and get ready to play.”
Turner was 0 for 2 when he stepped in with two on and one out in the top of the fourth, and hit a first-pitch changeup up in the zone out to left field for his sixth homer of the season.
“That’s why it’s so tough to ask him to bunt,” Martinez said when asked about his shortstop’s power, “because guy on first and second like that, he can hit a ball out of the ballpark, and I know that, I’ve seen him do it last year, so when he’s going well, or even when he’s not, you want him to swing the bat and tonight he had a three-run homer and gave us a big lead.”
Max Scherzer dominated the Marlins over eight innings on the mound, giving up just one run on five hits, and Fernando Rodney made his debut in a Nationals uniform with a quick-ish ninth inning.
The Nats scored six runs on eight hits, went 3 for 5 with runners in scoring position, and beat the Marlins for the fourth time in seven games with their NL East rivals this season.
Martinez was asked about the combination of good situational hitting, solid defense, which included two double plays, and another solid outing for Scherzer (5-0 with a 0.91 ERA in 49 IP in his last seven outings). So is that the winning formula for success for this club?
“We rely a lot on our starting pitching, we do,” Martinez said.
“We’ve got a really good rotation, but then again we have to utilize everything that we do, which is good baserunning, good defense, we hit, we hit for power.
“What I like is we have a combination of a lot of things. We can run, we can hit for power, lately it’s been a better two-strike approach, hitting balls up the middle when we need to and just playing — the simple things of the game.
“Today we turned a couple good double plays, got out of some innings, and it was awesome.”
The win was the Nationals’ 13th in 20 games in June. Will they keep rolling in the second of three in Miami tonight?