Marlins roll to 5th straight win with sweep of Nats
By Joe Frisaro and Bill Ladson
MIAMI -- The Nationals created an opening in the fourth inning, botching a rundown play, and the Marlins made them pay. Adeiny Hechavarria delivered a three-run triple, Giancarlo Stanton added an RBI triple, and Miami rolled to a 6-2 victory on Sunday at Marlins Park.
Hechavarria put Miami in front with a bases-clearing triple with two outs in the fourth inning. The hit came after Washington was unable to tag out Stanton in a rundown at third.
"We can get out of that inning by executing the rundown," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "I don't know why [catcher Wilson Ramos] didn't give up the ball. … I know the big inning was a result of us not executing. You give them extra outs. That's what happens. We need to do a better job all around."
After starting the season 1-for-22, Hechavarria has been one the Marlins' hottest hitters. On Saturday night, the shortstop belted a three-run homer. The Marlins have won five straight, their longest streak since taking six in a row from July 24-29, 2014. Miami last swept a three-game set from Washington at Marlins Park in May 2012.
The Nationals have dropped five in a row. Bryce Harper homered to open the second, his fifth of the season, to give the Nationals the early lead off Dan Haren, who gave up two runs in five innings. It was the sixth homer Haren has allowed in four starts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stanton's swim move into third: What was shaping up to be over-aggressive baserunning by Stanton turned into a momentum-changing scramble back to third base. On Ichiro Suzuki's two-out infield single, Stanton, who was on second base, found himself more than halfway home. The throw from first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to Ramos had Stanton trapped. But the Nationals botched the rundown, and Stanton dove headfirst back to third. He was a few feet away from the base and appeared to swim his way back to the base safely. More >
Haren minimizes damage: After Hechavarria's three-run triple, Haren was looking for a shutdown inning in the fifth inning. But Washington chipped back to 3-2 on Denard Span's two-out, run-scoring single. Haren walked Yunel Escobar, and the Nationals had a chance for a big inning. But Haren caught Jayson Werth looking for an inning-ending strikeout.
Gio can't go home again: Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who had beaten the Marlins in consecutive starts, is from the Miami area, but he had one of his worst starts of his career, allowing six runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts in five-plus innings. The biggest blow came on Hechavarria's three-run triple following the misplayed rundown. It would have been the third out of the inning, but Gonzalez blamed himself for the three runs scoring. More >
"What affected me was falling behind hitters ... I wasn't attacking the strike zone as much," Gonzalez said. "Realistically, it happens in baseball. As a starting pitcher, you have to go out there and minimize the damage. Obviously, I didn't do that. I have to make a better pitch to Hechavarria. Even knowing the situation, you have to make the adjustment. Again, that's all me."
Stanton's towering triple: Miami padded its lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning. Martin Prado singled and scored on Stanton's thunderous triple, which likely is out of any other ballpark. The deep drive hit the top of the wall in the cutout portion of center field, near the 418 marker. It went for an RBI triple, and Marcell Ozuna's sacrifice fly brought Stanton home. More >
"We knew we were a good team," Stanton said. "Just to mesh on the field is good to finally see. We all knew it was there. It took longer than expected, but we're here now, and playing good."
"It's really tough to sweep a team, especially one as good as the Nationals. I battled. It wasn't easy, definitely. We had the one play where 'G' got caught out there, and then Hechy got the big hit. Really, today isn't about me. It's about the bullpen, and the offense has been unbelievable. We're finally hitting well, pitching well." -- Haren
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Miami's Dee Gordon dropped a bunt single in the third inning, giving him two bunt hits on the season. In 2014, the speedster paced the Majors with 20 bunt hits.
• Harper now has 10 homers against the Marlins, which ranks as his second-most against any team. The Mets have allowed the most home runs (11) to Harper.
• Stanton continues to give the Nationals problems. After going 2-for-4 with the RBI triple, Stanton is now hitting .323 with 23 home runs and 56 RBIs against Washington.
The Marlins outrighted left-hander Grant Dayton to Triple-A New Orleans following the game.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: Right-hander Doug Fister will take the mound in Atlanta for the opener of a three-game series on Monday night (7:10 ET). In three career starts against the Braves, Fister has been dominating, going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Braves hitters have a .169 batting average against Fister, and he has not allowed a run to the Braves in two starts as a member of the Nationals.
Marlins: Miami has won two straight series, first at Philadelphia and this weekend against Washington. On Monday night (7:10 ET), the Marlins look to gain some revenge, as well as make up some ground in the NL East against the Mets. New York swept a four-game set at Citi Field (April 16-19). Jarred Cosart starts for Miami against New York's Dillon Gee.