Marlins making difficult plays look easy

Marlins making difficult plays look easy

WASHINGTON -- Defensive gems are occurring so routinely for the Marlins these days that spectacular plays have almost become routine.

If not for some stellar plays in the field on Saturday, a 5-1 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park on Saturday night could have been considerably worse.

"They've been playing great defense behind me all year," right-hander Tom Koehler said. "I think that's what's so disappointing with games like this. We play hard throughout. Good at-bats and great defensive plays. One pitch kind of changes the whole dynamic of the day."

Backed by strong defense, Koehler kept it a two-run game before Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond belted back-to-back home runs to open a five-run margin in the sixth inning.

The constant all night was the defense. It started in the first inning when right fielder Ichiro Suzuki ran down Jayson Werth's long drive.

Second baseman Dee Gordon showed his range and athletic ability with a diving stop on Danny Espinosa's crisply hit grounder in the fifth inning. It was a big play, because it saved a single right after Wilson Ramos singled to open the inning. Koehler was able to strand Ramos at third.

Gordon's diving stop

In the fourth inning, Adeiny Hechavarria nearly pulled off a miraculous play on Desmond's infield single. The Miami shortstop made a lunging stop up the middle, quickly spun and threw to first, but Desmond was safe.

Hechavarria's valiant effort

Desmond attempted to steal second after his two-out hit, but Gordon snared J.T. Realmuto's throw, which was tailing away. Realmuto made a good play to handle the pitch and make the throw. In one motion, Gordon immediately tagged Desmond for the third out.

Realmuto cuts down Desmond

"Ichi, in the first inning, had a great running catch," manager Dan Jennings said. "Prado starting that double play. J.T. with the pick and threw out Desmond. Defensively, I thought we did some outstanding things."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.