Aníbal Sánchez wasn’t sharp, and the Washington Nationals’ defense was sloppy at times, but they still managed to take a 5-4 lead on a tie-breaking, two-out, two-strike double by Juan Soto in the seventh, only to have Daniel Hudson blow the lead in the top of the ninth, giving up a leadoff single by Harold Ramirez and a go-ahead, two-run home run by Starlin Castro that lifted the Miami Marlins to a 6-5 lead...
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, however, the Nats rallied against Marlins’ righty Ryne Stanek, with Howie Kendrick singling, and Trea Turner walking, before a one-out wild pitch to Anthony Rendon moved both runners into scoring position and an RBI single gave the home team a walk-off, 7-6 win.
Sánchez vs the Fish: In two starts against the Marlins before tonight, Aníbal Sánchez was (1-1) with a 3.18 ERA, seven walks, eight Ks, and a .213/.315/.319 line against in 11 1⁄3 IP in 2019, and the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran was unbeaten in his last 15 outings overall, with a 3.18 ERA, 23 walks, 69 Ks, and a .229/.284/.357 line against in his last 87 2⁄3 innings going into a third start against Miami.
Coming off an impressive outing against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, in which he gave up just one hit, two walks, and two runs (one earned) in 8 2⁄3 innings pitches, Sánchez gave up one run early in tonight’s series opener with the Fish, when Harold Ramirez hit an 87 MPH cutter out to left-center for a solo shot and a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Walk-off homer?— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 30, 2019
Meet a walk-on homer. pic.twitter.com/4xqVvHzLpQ
Sánchez worked around three misplays (one by Trea Turner on a potential DP, and two on one play by Matt Adams on a grounder to first, and the pitcher as he covered on that ball), which set the Marlins up with the bases loaded and one out, striking Jorge Alfaro out and popping Isan Diaz up to end a 24-pitch third that left him at 59 pitches.
Gerardo Parra got turned around on a Lewis Brinson fly to right in the first at bat of the top of the fourth, and it bounced off the track and into the right field bullpen when he missed it, for a leadoff, ground-rule double.
An eight-pitch walk to Austin Dean and a sac bunt by the opposing pitcher put runners on second and third, and an RBI groundout by Jon Berti made it a one-run game, 3-2.
Sánchez worked around a leadoff single in a 14-pitch top of the fifth, but was up to 94 total pitches at that point, and with his spot in the order up first in the bottom of the inning, the Nationals went to the bullpen...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 62 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Hernandez vs the Nats: Elieser Hernandez started against the Nationals in the nation’s capital back on July 4th, giving up five hits, a walk, and three earned runs in 4 1⁄3 IP.
Hernandez moved in the Marlins’ bullpen for his next five appearances, then returned to the rotation, going (2-1) in the six starts heading into his second outing of the season against the Nationals tonight, posting a 4.66 ERA, 11 walks, 26 Ks, and a .221/.319/.510 line against in 29 IP over that stretch.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with before he took the mound, Hernandez gave up back-to-back singles by Trea Turner and Gerardo Parra in the bottom of the first, putting runners on the corners before he recorded an out, and Anthony Rendon followed with a third consecutive hit, driving Turner in with a single to center before Parra scored one out later on a grounder to second by Asdrúbal Cabrera, 2-1. Hernandez ended up throwing 34 pitches in the first.
Victor Robles doubled to start the second, tying Juan Soto for the most doubles by a rookie in Nationals’ history (2005-present), with his 25th two-base hit of 2019, and he moved up on a sac bunt by Aníbal Sánchez, and then scored on a groundout by Trea Turner to make it a 3-1 game after two.
Hernandez retired 12-straight Nats’ batters after the third run scored, but Anthony Rendon “doubled” to left on a liner that Harold Ramirez misplayed, and a balk moved Rendon over to third with no one out before Juan Soto doubled on a line drive to center to make it a 4-2 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Elieser Hernandez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 98 P, 67 S, 7/6 GO/FO.
Rend-on-base & Victor ROBPles: Anthony Rendon started the night with a 14-game on-base streak, over which he was 24 for 59 (.400 AVG) with six doubles, four homers, 14 RBIs, seven walks, and 12 runs scored.
Rendon extended his streak to 15-straight games with an RBI single in the bottom of the first.
Victor Robles came into the opener with the Fish with a 16-game on-base streak going, over which he was 22 for 63 (.349/.417/.540), with six doubles, two home runs, and six walks in 72 plate appearances.
Robles doubled to start the Nationals’ second, and scored the third run of the game for the home team, making it a 3-1 game, and a 17-game on-base streak.
He also took a fastball off his right index finger trying to bunt, and it was bleeding, but he stayed in the game, though it appeared he ran back and had an X-ray at one point. He will be fine. Say he’ll be fine!!!
BULLPEN ACTION: Wander Suero took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and set the side down in order in a 10-pitch, three-groundout frame.
Hunter Strickland got the top of the seventh for the home team, and gave up three straight singles to start the frame, with Jon Berti, Harold Ramirez, and Starlin Castro all connecting for singles to make it a 4-3 game, and a four-pitch walk to Neil Walker loaded the bases in front of Jorge Alfaro. Strickland struck Alfaro out, getting him to chase a two-strike fastball up high, at which point the Nationals went to lefty Roenis Elías.
Elías came on with the bases loaded and one out against lefty Isan Díaz, and he fell behind 3-1, got to 3-2, and missed wide to force in the tying run with a walk, 4-4, before he got an inning-ending 5-4-3 out of Lewis Brinson.
A BBQ is a Q about a BB.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 31, 2019
We have none. Tie ballgame. Carry on. pic.twitter.com/EixGUrMYRh
Righty Kyle Keller walked pinch hitter Adam Eaton to start the Nats’ half of the seventh, and walked Anthony Rendon two outs later before he was lifted in favor of left-handed reliever Jarlin García, who gave up a go-ahead double by Juan Soto on a 1-2 slider that Soto lined off the right field fence, 5-4.
Fernando Rodney was a little wild, but he retired the Marlins in order in a 16-pitch eighth.
Jarlin García and Hector Noesi combined for a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Daniel Hudson came on for the save opportunity and ... gave up a leadoff single by Harold Ramirez on a close play at first base, before Starlin Castro stepped in and hit a 1-0 fastball over the corner of the high GEICO wall in center to put the Fish up, 6-5.
STARLIN CASTRO.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 31, 2019
? A TRIPLE A N D A HOMER FOR THE LEAD ? pic.twitter.com/S3Lqmq5GL3
Ryne Stanek got a save opportunity in the bottom of the inning, and gave up a single by Howie Kendrick, and a walk to Trea Turner, but Gerardo Parra popped up a bunt attempt trying to move the runners over, one down. Anthony Rendon stepped in next and a wild pitch from Stanek moved both runners into scoring position before Rendon won it with a walk-off single, 7-6 Nationals.
Nationals now 75-58