An eight run first inning by two low-ERA starters set an unusual tone in Marlins Park tonight. Nathan Eovaldi came out of the chute with less-than-ideal command on his fastball and loaded the bases with the first three batters. A couple of batters later, the score was three-zip. It took Eovaldi 36 pitches to close the inning. Washington’s ace, Stephen Strasburg, was expected to shut down the surging Marlins, but he simply couldn’t find the strike zone. He loaded the bases right out of the gate as well, and Marcell Ozuna tagged him for a three-run triple. Eovaldi notched his first base hit with an RBI single to right field, and the first ended with the score 5-3 Marlins
A slump-clearing Giancarlo Stanton took a Strasburg offering into the Marlins bullpen for two runs, effectively ending Strasburg’s night after two innings. Ross Ohlendorf and his unusual double-pump windup took the Nats through the sixth with no further damage. Adeiny Hechavarria drilled a grounder down the third base line for an RBI double in the seventh. The game ended in the ninth with the final score Washington 3, Miami 8.
The key for the Marlins in this game was Eovaldi’s ability to make an adjustment between the first and the second innings. The Marlins’ bullpen was off tonight, requiring two pitchers for both the seventh and eighth innings. Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn, and Chad Qualls handled the late innings for the fish.
Tomorrow, Dan Haren faces All-star Jose Fernandez. Haren brings an unimpressive 6.00 ERA to the game, and Fernandez is definitely en fuego. Tonight’s game was the Nats best chance this series, and it looks like the Marlins have a good shot at continuing their midseason surge tomorrow.