Marlins take nightcap to split doubleheader with Nats
By Bill Ladson and Alex Putterman
WASHINGTON -- Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto drove in a combined four runs as the Marlins defeated the Nationals, 7-1, at Nationals Park on Saturday night to split the day-night doubleheader. The Nationals won the first game, 6-4, as Stephen Strasburg earned his sixth win.
"Today is big, being able to get this one after the first one and last night [a 5-3 Nationals win]," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "You don't want to get in here and get into tomorrow with a chance of being swept."
The Marlins went to work on starter Tanner Roark beginning in the second inning, when Miguel Rojas singled to center field, driving in Ozuna. Rojas then scored on a double by Derek Dietrich. Justin Bour made it a 3-0 game in the third by knocking his sixth home run of the season.
Prospect Kendry Flores started the game for the Marlins, but he left the game because of a right shoulder strain after three innings. A bullpen-by-committee, led by winning pitcher Jose Urena, held the Nationals to one run on four hits. The one run came in the fourth when Matt den Dekker scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew.
The Marlins broke it open with four runs in the fifth off Roark. After loading the bases with nobody out, the Nationals retired Giancarlo Stanton and Bour, before Ozuna and Realmuto came through with matching two-run singles.
"They get our two big boys, and then Ozuna and J.T. get back-to-back hits to kind of push us out there," Mattingly said. "Those were some key moments for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ozuna stays hot: Ozuna extended his National League-best hitting streak to 13 games with two hits in Saturday's matinee, then added three more knocks in the nightcap to reach 14. Ozuna played key roles in both of Miami's biggest rallies Saturday night, tripling and scoring in the second inning and plating two runs with a single in the fifth. Ozuna, whose average stood below .200 as late as April 20, is now batting .313 on the season. Of Ozuna's three hits Saturday night, one went to left field, one to center and the triple to right.
"He's got power to all fields, and he got to use the whole thing," Mattingly said. "He shows how much better a hitter he is when he's using the whole field." More >
Not-so-good Roark: The righty had his worst start of the season, surrendering seven runs in five innings. He threw 114 pitches. Roark's roughest inning came in the fifth, when he allowed four runs.
"[Roark] didn't have it from the beginning when he hit the first batter," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He couldn't control the zone like he usually does. In the inning when they got the four runs, he had a chance to get out of it, when he was able to get the first two batters [with the bases loaded]. Then they were able to get a couple of two-out knocks."
Flores goes down: Flores, Miami's No. 5 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, was solid in his 2016 debut. He permitted one hit and three walks with a strikeout over three scoreless innings, but he was forced to leave the game with a right shoulder strain. The Marlins called up Flores from Triple-A New Orleans to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader in order to preserve their starting rotation. Flores was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game. More >
"I felt good those first two innings," Flores said through an interpreter. "It's just an unfortunate ending."
Wasted scoring opportunities: The Nationals went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Their best chance to score more than one run came in the second inning. The Nationals had the bases loaded with one out, but Roark lined out to Flores, and Ben Revere grounded out to end the threat.
"We had a couple of chances to get back in the game, but the Marlins were able to get the hits we didn't get," Baker said. "That was really the ballgame. It was really the ballgame. It was a long day, the second game on our side."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Nationals are 8-3-16 (sweep, swept and splits) when playing twice in a single day, or 32-22 overall, since landing in D.C. in 2005.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: The Marlins will turn to Jose Fernandez at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday seeking a series split with the Nationals. Fernandez will look to shut down Washington's lineup as he did Milwaukee's on Monday, when he struck out 11 batters in seven scoreless innings.
Nationals:Joe Ross' last start was his worst of the year. He allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings against the Tigers. Ross was cruising until the fourth, when he surrendered a homer to Nick Castellanos.