Another solid start for the Washington Nationals, who got six strong from Aníbal Sánchez, more home runs for the Nationals, with both Kurt Suzuki and Anthony Rendon going deep to extend the team’s home run streak to 18-straight games, and another win for the Nats, who swept the Miami Marlins for the second series in a row and won their fourth straight, their eighth in the last nine, and their 26th in the last 36, 5-2 final.
Sánchez vs the Fish: Signed by the Boston Red Sox out of Venezuela in 2001 and traded to the then-Florida Marlins in 2005, Aníbal Sánchez spent his first seven seasons as a Marlin.
Going into his sixth start and seventh career appearance against the Fish this morning, the one-time Marlins’ starter was (0-1) against the Nationals’ NL East rivals this season, having taken the loss in a 3-2 game in April in which he gave up five hits, four walks, and three runs in 5 1⁄3 IP in South Florida.
Sánchez’s second outing of 2019 against the Fish began with a home run to left field by leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas, who hit a 2-2 splitter into the bullpen for his first of the 2019 campaign and a 1-0 lead.
Rojas hit a line drive to center field with runners on the corners in the Marlins’ second, and JT Riddle, who’d singled to start the inning, scored on the liner, while the Nationals got an out at second, 2-0.
Sánchez held the Marlins there through five, however, as the Nationals chipped away at the deficit, tying it up in the fourth and taking the lead in the fifth, 3-2, before the Nats’ starter came back out in the sixth inning and worked around a one-out walk in a 21-pitch frame that ended his outing.
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 70 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
E-L-I-E-S-E-R [DING!]: Elieser Hernandez, 24, earned his first win in four starts this season last time out before today, giving up three hits, two walks, and two earned runs in 5 2⁄3 IP against the Phillies in a 6-2 victory in Marlins Park.
Overall on the season, the right-hander was (1-2) with a 4.07 ERA, a 4.20 FIP, six walks, 26 Ks, and a .228/.287/.424 line against in 24 1⁄3 IP heading into today’s game.
Staked to a 2-0 lead after one and a half in the series finale, Hernandez retired the first five batters he faced this afternoon, but Kurt Suzuki hit a 2-2 fastball out to left with two down in the second to get the Nationals on the board, 2-1. Suzuki’s 10th.
Oh, and the Nationals have now hit home runs in 18-straight games:
You. Just. Got. ZUKED!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 4, 2019
P.S. We've extended our franchise-record HR streak to 18 games. pic.twitter.com/dqoSysVqTB
And Suzuki flossed after surfing in the dugout...
Anthony Rendon took the Marlins’ starter deep to left field on a 3-2 slider in the bottom of the fourth, absolutely crushing the pitch, which broke right over the heart of the plate, 2-2, and No. 20 of 2019 for Rendon.
Hernández escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam later in the fourth, but the 37-pitch frame pushed him from 46 to 83 pitches overall on the day.
He came back out for the fifth inning and gave up a one-out double by Gerardo Parra that bounced off the top of the left field fence, and a wild pitch moved Parra to third before he scored on an RBI single by Anthony Rendon that ended the Marlins’ starter’s day, 3-2 Nats.
Elieser Hernandez’s Line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 99 P, 58 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
SotOBP: Juan Soto walked the first time up last night, extending his on-base streak to 17 in-a-row, over which the 20-year-old outfielder was 20 for 55 (.364 AVG) after his 1 for 4, BB night at the plate in the Nationals’ 3-1 win.
Over the course of the streak, the slugger had two doubles, three triples, five home runs, 15 RBIs, 14 walks, 13 strikeouts, and 14 runs scored, with a .493 OBP and a .782 SLG going into today’s game. He didn’t reach base in his first four plate appearances though, striking out in three, and his streak came to an end. Long live the streak.
BULLPEN ACTION: Jarlin García took over for the Marlins in the bottom of the fifth and got them out of the inning without further damage. 3-2 Nationals.
Adam Conley came on for the Marlins in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up a one-out single by Victor Robles, then issued a two-out intentional walk to Trea Turner with Robles on second, and surrendered a two-run double to center by Gerardo Parra on a first-pitch fastball, 5-2 Nationals. Parra’s second double of the game and 9th of the season.
Tanner Rainey got the top of the seventh for the Nationals and worked around a one-out single in a 21-pitch frame.
Righty Jeff Brigham started the bottom of the seventh for the Fish, and retired the side in order in a nine-pitch frame.
Wander Suero gave up a leadoff double by Jorge Alfaro and a single by Harold Ramirez before he was replaced on the mound by Jonny Venters, who got a groundout from JT Riddle, struck out Curtis Granderson, but walked Neil Walker to load the bases with two down.
Javy Guerra came on to face Miguel Rojas and got up 0-2 quickly and got an out on a line drive to short.
Brigham tossed a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep it 5-2.
Fernando Rodney got the save opportunity in the top of the ninth, after Sean Doolittle threw a lot of pitches last night, and the 42-year-old reliever worked around back-to-back, two-out singles for a scoreless frame. Shoot that arrow...
Nationals now 45-41