Since a surprising 5-1 start, not much had gone well for the Miami Marlins. Solid offensive performances were overshadowed by poor pitching efforts and vice versa while the bullpen had let late inning leads slip away in D.C. and Philadelphia. On Tuesday night however, it all came together for Miami thanks to a big offensive effort and a stellar pitching performance from an unlikely Marlin in an 11-2 victory over the Washington Nationals to snap an eight-game losing streak.
As was the case when he took the mound at Marlins Park last July, Nationals’ starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg was rocked from the start. After Miami’s first two batters reached, Giancarlo Stanton took Strasburg deep to center to make it 3-0, but Stanton and the Marlins’ rout were only beginning.
Leading 3-0 after an inning, Miami got to Strasburg for three more runs in the second, highlighted by a two-run single from Casey McGehee. The Fish would add five in the fifth as Stanton’s two-run double gave the Marlins’ slugger five RBIs on the evening and a National League-leading 21 for the season.
While Stanton continued to carve up opposing pitching, pitching was a strong suit for Miami on Tuesday night. Tom Koehler, who was able to sneak into the final spot in the rotation during the spring, had the best night of his short career. In seven shutout innings, Koehler surrendered just a hit while striking out three. Koehler did issue five walks, but was able to pitch out of jams when he needed to.
With the Marlins struggling to win games of late, what took place in the fourth inning may serve as a huge wake-up call for the Fish. Up 6-0, Koehler ran a fastball inside to Washington shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond took exception to the pitch and benches eventually cleared. The location of the pitch seemed to indicate an overreaction by Desmond, but for a team that had been struggling, a bit of feistiness may be the spark the Marlins need to get going back in the right direction.
An offense that had been struggling continued to tack on, finishing with 11 runs and 15 hits — both season-highs. In front of Stanton and McGehee, who combined for five hits and seven RBIs in the middle of the order, the top of the order was solid as well. Lead-off man Christian Yelich had a pair of hits and two runs scored while center fielder, Marcell Ozuna, tied career-highs with four hits and three runs scored.
After losing eight straight, Miami was back in the win column on Tuesday. The Marlins will try to take the series from a Washington team that swept the Fish less than a week ago on Wednesday. Throwing for Miami, will be All-Star Jose Fernandez, who is 2-0 with an 0.71 ERA at home this season.
Although the Marlins have been down, Tuesday’s effort against Washington showed that there’s still a lot of fight left in the Fish. Following Wednesday’s series finale with the Nationals, the Marlins will host the Seattle Mariners for three games.