Three of the Washington Nationals’ six hits off Miami Marlins’ starter Pablo López on Sunday afternoon came in the first, when Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon all singled to start the series finale in South Florida.
Rendon’s hit drove in a run, but Juan Soto hit into a double play in the next at bat, and Howie Kendrick sent a fly to left field to end the opening frame.
López retired six of the next seven batters he faced to get through three, with the score tied at 1-1, but a leadoff walk by Juan Soto (one of three Soto took on the day), a single by Howie Kendrick, and RBI grounder by Brian Dozier (on which a run scored but Kendrick got thrown out at third), broke up the tie, 2-1 Nationals, and a two-out single by Austin Voth made it a 3-1 game in the visitor’s favor.
López worked around another walk to Soto and another single by Kendrick in the fifth, then the Marlins’ bullpen took over and held the Nationals’ hitless the rest of the way, before the Fish rallied to take the lead in the seventh, and the Marlins held on for a sweep-avoiding 5-3 win in the series finale.
“Soto worked good walks,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said when asked about the offense starting strong in the third of three with the Fish, but faltering late, “... just [López] started throwing really good sinkers, and getting in on a lot of our hitters and keeping the ball down, we beat a lot of balls into the ground. Eaton hit the ball really hard all day. He didn’t have a hit to show for it, but he smoked some balls. Just one of those days, we’ve got to come back tomorrow and regroup and get ready to play tomorrow.”
Tonight in Washington, D.C., the Nationals, who are currently tied for the lead in the NL Wild Card race with the Milwaukee Brewers, start a stretch of five games in four days with their NL East rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies, against whom they are 9-5 this season, having won five of the last six with Bryce Harper and Co., though they haven’t played each other since mid-July.
Patrick Corbin is on the mound for the Nationals tonight, against Phillies’ right-hander Zach Eflin, who has put up a 1.50 ERA, six walks, 21 Ks, and a .182/.250/.288 line against in 18 IP in three starts against the Nats in 2019.
NOTES: Asdrúbal Cabrera’s back in after injuring his ankle over the weekend. “Iron Yan” Gomes is going again. When will Anthony Rendon’s mini-slump (6 for 34 in last 9 games) end?