By: Tim Jordan
The Washington Nationals (10-3) handled the Miami Marlins (4-8) to a 7-0 score with powerful hitting and dominate pitching in the second game of their 4 game series.
Coming off a loss in the previous game the Nationals got off to a slow start against a dominate start by Adam Conley (0-1, 4.61). Conley made it to 6 2/3 innings before the Nats could figure out his stuff. Jayson Werth knocked a solo home run, his 200th career, into the monument in Marlins Park erasing Conley’s 12 straight scoreless innings streak. Wilson Ramos followed that up with a long ball of his own on the very next pitch. After allowing 2 more hits Conley was done for the night, finishing with 95 pitches.
“I’m not fired up about what happened, that we lost the game and everything,” Conley said. “But I’m encouraged. I feel like I found a piece of gold with what I learned through today’s start. Sometimes you’ve got to get kicked in the teeth a little bit and learn the hard way. I feel like I did that today. To the absolute best of my ability, that’s not going to happen again. I’m encouraged by that.”
Chris Narveson (1-0, 8.64) entered the game in a spot that no National League pitcher would like to inherit, bases loaded and reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper at the plate. After getting behind 2-1 Narverson threw a cut fastball to the outside corner of the plate that Harper quickly deposited into the right field seats for his second Grand Slam of the season and of his short career (His first was 6 games ago). The base clearing jack also brought Bryce’s average to .333, RBI total to 20 and raised his season OPS to 1.295.
“I was trying to go deep to tell you the truth,” Harper said. “It happened. I got a good pitch to drive and did my job.”
Following the knock-out blow delivered by Harper, a fired up Nationals team wasn’t done. Ryan Zimmerman belted a solo shot bringing the score to 7 runs in the 7th inning. This was the first time in franchise history that the Nationals (or Expos) have went back-to-back twice in the same inning or 4 homers in the same inning for that matter. It was also the first time the Marlins gave up for home runs in one inning.
Stephen Strasburg (3-0, 1.25) pitched a gem of a game. Allowing no runs, 3 hits, and 2 walks over 8 innings while striking out 10 batters.
“He’s coming into his own. It’s incredible,” Bryce Harper said. “You see what he did in college. He had so much pressure going through the Minors, coming up and everything, got hurt, trying to get back into it with his ankle and things like that. Then, the second half last year was absolutely ridiculous. Now, he’s putting up video game numbers again.”
Dusty Baker improves to a, division leading, 10-3 record as he continues his first year at the helm of the Nationals.
“That just shows what we’re capable of doing,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve always said once we can get everybody swinging the way they’re capable of swinging, that we’re capable of a lot of those innings, which goes to show us that we should never be out of a ballgame if we’re capable of striking like that.”
The Nationals head back to Washington after the last 2 games in Miami for a 6 game home stand. Joe Ross (2-0, 0.82) takes on Miami hurler Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 1.82) for game 3.