By Michael Marzzacco
The Nationals and Marlins squared off in game two on Saturday night in Miami. The Nats had a hard time solving 23 year old Marlins ace Jose Fernandez as he pitched a gem striking out nine batters in six innings. The Marlins would prevail 3-2 despite a furious ninth inning rally by Washington.
The Nats jumped on Fernandez early with an RBI single by Clint Robinson that scored Chris Heisey. It was their best opportunity of the night to get to him. That was the lone run they would score in that inning. That inning started out with runners on first and third with one out but one run was all the Nats could muster.
“We had Fernandez on the ropes so to speak early in the game but it seems like he finds a way to wiggle out of it,”Nats manager Dusty Baker told reporters.
Miami tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single by Martin Prado that scored Ichiro Suzuki. The Marlins took the lead with a two run homer by Justin Bour in the bottom of the sixth.
When the Nationals entered the ninth inning, they put together a furious rally. It started with three straight singles by Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Wilson Ramos. Anthony Rendon drew a walk that scored Harper, pulling Washington within a run. Down 3-2, bases full, and still nobody out. The rally would fall short. Jayson Werth grounded into a double play from third base to home. Jose Lobaton grounded out to end the game.
Ichiro had a great game with the Marlins, finishing with four hits and going 4-4.
With Fernandez dueling the Nats countered with Joe Ross on the mound. It was his 23rd birthday and he almost outdueled Fernandez. He took a one run lead into the fifth after getting out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the previous inning. Ross went 5.2 innings allowing three runs on eight hits, struck out seven and gave up the decisive home run to Bour. He watched the Nats ninth inning from the trainer’s room.
“Getting your hopes up, definitely… Then probably the most unlucky play we could have had (Werth’s double play out),” said Ross.
The Nats will look to take the rubber game of the three game set this afternoon. First pitch is at 1:10. Max Scherzer gets the start for Washington while Miami will counter with Adam Conley.