The Nationals dropped the second game of the four-game series with the Marlins by a final of 7-3. The series is now deadlocked at one apiece.
Nationals starting pitcher A.J. Cole used a viscous slider to strike out Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton to begin the game which got his night off to a great start after surrendering five runs in five innings during his previous outing against this same Marlins team.
In the bottom of the first, Adrian Sanchez got on with a single into center field and Bryce Harper drew a walk to put two runners on. Unfortunately the mini rally came short with Ryan Zimmerman striking out and Sanchez getting caught stealing in the process.
The Nationals got in front 1-0 in the bottom of the third. The inning started with a leadoff double by Brian Goodwin to the left field fence in front of the visitor’s bullpen, over the head of Ichiro Suzuki. Goodwin would advance to third on a sacrifice bunt by Adrian Sanchez that was nicely placed along the third base line, meaning Derek Dietrich would only have one play at first. Bryce Harper drove in Goodwin with a groundout to Gordon at second base.
Cole carried a no-hitter through three innings but his no-hit bid ended with two outs in the fourth with a home run by Dietrich that tied the game. Dietrich homered on a slider at the middle of the plate on a 1-2 count. Then in the fifth inning things got bad. Cole surrendered two hits and Stanton made him pay with a deep home run to the tables just in front of the Budweiser Brew House restaurant in centerfield to put the Marlins up 4-1. Cole would exit after that inning, finishing his night with five strikeouts.
Sammy Solis came on in the sixth and retired all three batters he faced. In the seventh he gave up a walk to Miguel Rojas on a close 3-2 count and got the hook. Joe Blanton came in with Tyler Moore pinch hitting for a righty-righty matchup. Blanton won getting Moore to pop out. Blanton would next face Gordon and this time not succeed as he hit a ground-rule double down the left field line that scored Rojas. The Nats challenged for fan interference as the fan caught the bounce and the call would still be upheld as a ground rule double yet the run counted regardless. Blanton intentionally walked Stanton and then his night was done.
Oliver Perez came in with runners on first and second with one out. He got Christian Yelich to pop out but hit J.T. Realmunto to load up the bases. Dietrich would make him pay with a single that scored two runs to make it 7-1.
The Nats would try to mount a rally beginning in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson led off with a single. Goodwin followed with a double and Sanchez would single home Stevenson with a ground ball to left field. Harper then hit a sacrifice fly to Yelich at center field that scored Goodwin. Unfortunately the inning ended when Ryan Zimmerman lined out to left fielder Ichiro, who fired it to first to double off Sanchez who ran all the way past second base during the fly ball.
That was as close as they got.