With 2,771 in the seats at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, the Miami Marlins topped the Washington Nationals in spring play on Tuesday afternoon.
Miami Marlins pitching combined to strike out 10 Nationals in a three hit, 3-2 victory. Unlike most of the Marlins victories this spring, today’s win was not a come-from-behind affair.
Jonathan Villar led off the third inning with a single and quickly stole second base. Brian Anderson obliged Villar with a 2-2 double into left field to bring home the run. After a Corey Dickerson pop out, Jesus Aguilar followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Lewis Brinson brought Anderson home with a sacrifice fly into center field.
Miami’s slim two-run advantage wouldn’t last long. Starlin Castro drew a one out walk in the top of the fourth and scored when Juan Soto parked one over the right-field fence to tie the game off Miami Marlins starter Caleb Smith.
The score remained deadlocked until the bottom of the eighth. Monte Harrison led off with a walk then stole his sixth base of the spring to get into scoring position. Two batters later, Harold Ramirez knocked him in with a single to right field. It proved to be the game-winner.
The Marlins totaled eight hits in the game, but Anderson’s double was the lone multi-base hit. Aguilar and Villar each finished with a pair of singles. Aside from the long ball, Smith was pretty good. He struck out four in as many innings, and gave up a single, the Castro walk, and the homer.
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As usual, the Miami Marlins bullpen was equal to the task of keeping the Marlins close. Sterling Sharp came in to pitch the fifth and sixth innings, and allowed only a walk while collecting a pair of strikeouts. Adam Conley whiffed two in a perfect seventh inning, and Pat Venditte was credited with the win with a scoreless eighth despite allowing a pair of baserunners. Yimi Garcia closed it in the ninth for his first save of the spring, with a perfect inning of work.
Tomorrow at the same time, the Marlins will host the New York Yankees for the first of two meetings this spring. The Bombers are 10-7, 1.5 games behind the Marlins in the all-important Grapefruit League pennant race. The Marlins remain one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the league “title.”