The Nationals took Game 1 of the day/night doubleheader over the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park by a final score of 6-4.
Stephen Strasburg took the ball in his first start since signing a seven year, $175 million contract earlier in the week. He went 6.0 innings allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. With the win he improved his record to 6-0. It wasn’t his best start but he still got the win.
“He’s still got a little ways to go but he’s come a long way,” said Nats manager Dusty Baker. “He wants it very badly and I just hope the contract doesn’t add any pressure to him. Right now he’s playing for fun and you hope that everybody gets in that position in their careers. You’re just playing for the love of the game and the thrill of the competition. He’s a competitor big time and I’m glad he got the win.”
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a homer by Christian Yelich. The Nats went up 2-1 in the bottom frame with sacrifice flys by Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman. With Bryce Harper still on base, Jayson Werth sent him home with an RBI single to left field to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.
Miami got a run back in the fifth with an RBI double by Yelich. Washington answered in the bottom frame as Anthony Rendon got singled to left field to score Michael Taylor.
Down 4-2 in the top half of the sixth, the Marlins once again made it a one run game. A Jeff Mathis single into left field scored Marcell Ozuna. Once again the Nationals needed an insurance run and once again they responded in the bottom inning. This time with a home run by Wilson Ramos over into the red seats in left-center. It got caught by a fan in the front row and had to be reviewed but the fan never reached over the fence closest to the field so the call was upheld.
The Marlins chipped away at the deficit once again in the seventh as Martin Prado singled to centerfield to score Derek Dietrich. The Nats added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with a double by Taylor into centerfield to score Matt den Dekker. Jonathan Papelbon closed the door in the ninth and the Nats took Game 1 of the Saturday twin bill 6-4.
Taylor had a big day at the plate as he went 2 for 3 with two walks, two stolen bases, and scored two runs.
“I was just trying to be patient right there, see as many pitches as I can, and try to put together good at-bats,” said Taylor.
The Nats improved their record to 23-13, 10 games over .500 as Game 2 of the doubleheader will take place tonight at 7:05.