Anthony Rendon scores ahead of the tag from Miami’s Jeff Mathis on Ryan Zimmerman’s first inning sacrifice fly to give Washington a lead they’d never relinquish in the Nats’ 6-4 victory over Miami this afternoon (PHOTO- Miami Herald.com).
Nationals’ Record- 23-13
WP- Strasburg (6-0) LP- Nicolino (2-1) SV- Papelbon (11)
HR- Ramos Was (4), Yelich Mia (5)
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- Anthony Rendon
The Nats’ third baseman went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI to help the Nats’ offense to its six run output. Rendon’s nifty head-first slide on Ryan Zimmerman’s first inning sacrifice fly gave the Nats a lead they’d never lose, despite the pesky Marlins almost battling back several times to tie or go ahead in the contest.
Second Star- Shawn Kelley
The right-handed reliever got the job done on the day, recording five outs and keeping the Nats’ lead in place in the latter part of the game. One of the biggest at bats of the game came in the top of the seventh with Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton representing the go-ahead run at the plate. Kelley got ahead of Stanton, and then struck him out swinging on a 92 mile per hour fastball to end the threat.
Star of the Game- Michael A. Taylor
The Nats’ young leadoff hitter was on base four times in the game, recording two hits and two walks. It was a day of deuces for Taylor, as he also scored two runs and stole two bases.
Valiant in Defeat- Christian Yelich
There’s no denying the talent of the Marlins’ young outfielder, who hit a solo home run to deep centerfield off of Stephen Strasburg in the first inning and brought home another run with a double off of Strasburg in the top of the fifth. Yelich’s home run was his fifth of the season, and his two hits in four at bats raised his batting average to .328.
Strasburg’s win was his sixth in a row to start the season, tying him with reliever Tyler Clippard (who won six straight decisions to start the 2010 campaign). In his next start, the Nats’ stalwart will try to match Tanner Roark’s seven straight wins to begin a campaign, which Roark set in 2013 (thanks to Baseball-reference.com’s Play Index for this information). Strasburg struck out seven Marlins on the game making this the 80th game in his career, and seventh in eight starts this year, where he’s recorded at least that many strikeouts.
Washington stole three bases on the game, marking the second time this season the team has had three or more steals in a game. In addition to Taylor’s aforementioned thefts, Bryce Harper stole third base in the first inning of today’s game. Taylor and Harper also were responsible for Washington’s first three plus stolen base game in 2016, as each player stole two bases in the Nats’ victory over Atlanta on April 11th. The Nationals did not steal three or more bases in any of the team’s games last season.
Washington scored two of its runs in the first inning on sacrifice flies by Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman, marking the 57th time the Nats have had two or more run scoring fly ball outs in the same game. The two sacrifice flies in one inning was the seventh time Washington has accomplished that feat, with the last time coming on August 5th of last season when Zimmerman and Jayson Werth brought home runs on a flyout off of Arizona’s Rubby De La Rosa.
Two of the hardest hit balls of the day for the Nationals came off of the bats of Werth and Wilson Ramos. Werth’s scorching line drive single past shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria plated Harper with Washington’s run in the first inning, and Ramos’ laser shot home run to left center off of Miami’s Nick Wittgren in the bottom of the sixth inning gave Washington a 5-3 lead. Miami had some hard hit balls of its own, with Yelich’s first inning homer leaving the park in a hurry. The bad luck award for a hard hit ball goes to Stanton, whose shot in the fifth inning that could have tied the score was turned into an inning ending out on a fine play by Washington’s shortstop Danny Espinosa.