The matchup looked bleak on paper for the Miami Marlins as the Washington Nationals were starting 21 game winner Gio Gonzalez while the Marlins were starting a pitcher who was not on a major league roster last season in Kevin Slowey. However, that’s why baseball games are not played on paper…oh wait, this one actually turned out pretty much as expected. The Nationals held the Marlins scoreless for the second game in a row and ended up with a 3-0 victory.
Gonzalez was as good as expected on the mound hurling six shutout innings while striking out five Marlins and giving up just two hits and two bases on balls. Gio was even better at the plate connecting for a solo home run in the fifth inning to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead and the only run they would need. After Gonzalez, three members of the Nationals’ lethal bullpen combined to shut down the Marlins for the final three innings.
Marlins starter Slowey also turned in an excellent outing going five and one third innings while giving up just the lone run on four hits and striking out four. Slowey uncharacteristically issued three bases on balls, but was able escape trouble despite allowing baserunners in every inning but one. He finally exited in sixth with runners on first and third, but was bailed out when reliever Ryan Webb induced a double play grounder on the first pitch he threw to get out of the inning.
Webb would give up an unearned run in the seventh after an error by Donovan Solano allowed the first Nationals hitter of the inning to reach and eventually score. A.J. Ramos replaced Webb in the eighth inning and gave up the Nationals third run on an RBI single to Ryan Zimmerman which scored new Marlin killer Bryce Harper. Harper had greeted Ramos with a double to lead off the inning.
On offense, the Marlins were pathetic again tonight managing just four hits and never more than one in an inning. They also hit into two double plays and Juan Pierre was caught stealing once to kill even the slightest of rallies. The Marlins have now gone 18 innings without scoring a run which establishes a new team record for scoreless innings to start a season beating the previous mark of 13 set in 1996. Just to add injury to insult, first baseman Casey Kotchman strained a hamstring and was removed from the game in the fifth inning. He was listed as day-to-day.