The Marlins couldn't get anything going against starter Dan Haren, but managed to work the Nationals' relief pitchers into coughing up a pair of late runs, giving the Marlins a chance at sweeping another series.
Fernandez Shaky, But Solid
The Nationals worked Fernadez for the entirety of his start, forcing the Marlins' young ace into numerous full-count at-bats.
From the first inning, Fernandez had trouble locating his fastball. For most pitchers, that's a problem. For most pitchers, a wild heater means less threatening secondary pitches. Fernandez is not most pitchers.
His sharp secondary pitches kept the Nationals at bay. For most of the night, the slider was Fernandez's pitch of choice. Before he was ejected, Bryce Harper could attest to that.
In one instance, Fernandez, having the lefty-on-lefty advantage, threw four consecutive sliders at Harper. The Nationals' young outfielder made contact with one of them before striking out for his first of two whiffs.
Fernandez's heater seemed to have a particular problem staying down. Catcher Jeff Mathis called for plenty of low fastballs down in the zone. On numerous occasion, Mathis was instead dealt high heat, 95 mph fastballs just above his head.
Regardless of his early struggles, Fernandez finished with a great line: 4 hits, 1 earned, 6 strikeouts in six frames. His 103 pitches included 43 balls, though resulting in just three walks. He was dealt a no-decision.
Late Heroics From Stanton, Lucas
Once again, the Marlins could get nothing going against the Nationals' Dan Haren (I can't remember the last time I'd had to say that).
It wasn't like Haren was benefiting largely from fortunate fielding either. He fanned seven Marlins on the night and needed just 90 pitches to do it.
The Nationals had already scored on Fernandez, with Harper reaching home plate after Jeff Mathis bobbled a Marcel Ozuna throw to the plate. With Haren having put in his night's work, Rafael Soriano was called in to close the game for Washington.
Then, Giancarlo Stanton happened.
Soriano had Stanton at a favorable 1-2 count. As such, catcher Wilson Ramos called for an outside fastball. To put it bluntly, Soriano missed. Stanton sent the offering to left center, just under the Budweiser sign. Fernandez enjoyed it:
To finish the game, Ed Lucas was presented with an opportunity in the bottom of the 10th.
The Marlins third baseman had the bases loaded with no outs. Promptly, Lucas put his bat to the first offering from Craig Stammen.
Lucas, not being quite the prolific hitter, naturally ended the game by outrunning a double play. Fernandez was happy about this as well: