On this date in Marlins history, September 5, 2009, the Marlins were faced with taking on the Washington Nationals. Coming into the series the Nationals were 46-90 struggling mightily to compete in the National League East. The Florida Marlins were still close in the Wild Card race, trying to keep putting pressure on the teams ahead of them.
The Marlins got the scoring starting first in the first inning with three runs of their own. Back-to-back walks got the Marlins in business when Jorge Cantu stepped up to the plate to get them on the board with a run-scoring double. Cody Ross finished the scoring in the first with a clutch two-run single that scored Hanley Ramirez and Cantu to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. The next full inning didn't include much action until the bottom of the second where Pete Orr got the Nats on the board with a bases-loaded single. Josh Johnson did well to limit the damage by getting Livan Hernandez to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Once the fourth inning came around, Hernandez knew his start was coming to an end, as he gave up sacrifice fly to Cameron Maybin and Hanley Ramirez homered to give the Marlins a commanding 6-1 lead. Pinch-hitter Brett Hayes also homered for the Marlins and they improved their lead to 8-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Three Marlins relievers combined to finish the last four innings giving up four runs. Three of those earned runs were given up by Cristhian Martinez, who was struggling that season with a 6.75 ERA. The real story though was Josh Johnson continuing his dominance by just walking three, striking out one, and retiring his final 11 batters in Florida's fourth straight victory. He was 7-2 in his last 10 starts and 5-0 in his career against the Nationals.
Washington's losing streak was its longest since the team dropped 12 straight from August 8 to 20, 2008. The Nationals were 10 defeats shy of their second straight 100-loss season.
The highlights of the game were Ramirez's three RBIs and Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross with two each for the Marlins, who stayed four games behind Colorado for the NL Wild Card. Chris Coghlan also had three hits as he improved his slash line to .309/.382/.449.
Johnson was removed after five innings and 82 pitches because manager Fredi Gonzalez was worried that throwing 48 pitches in the first two innings might have overextended him. It was still good enough for Johnson to earn his 14th win on the season and keep him in the National League Cy Young voting race.
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