Apparently a change of scenery is not what the Marlins needed to put the brakes on their rapid downward spiral. Because despite being on the road in DC, and despite a nice victory in their series opener with the Nats, the Fish continued this weekend doing what they've been doing best of late: losing.
Anibal Sanchez struggled on the mound Sunday afternoon. It took him 100 pitches to get through just 4 1/3 innings, and for the ninth game in a row, the Marlins allowed their opposition to score first. Sanchez walked Nyjer Morgan to open up the bottom of the first inning, then Morgan advanced to third on Adam Kennedy's single, and scored when Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a double play.
Sanchy gave up another run to the Nats in the third inning, when once again a lead-off walk came back to bite him. He issued a free pass to Adam Kennedy to open the bottom of the third, and threw a wild pitch that allowed Kennedy to advance to second. Adam Dunn's single scored Kennedy from second, and the Marlins were down 2-0.
While the Nats scored runs, the Fish could accomplish precisely jack against Livan Hernandez, who went seven innings and allowed just five hits. Hanley Ramirez finally put the Marlins on the board in the top of the sixth with a solo shot off of Hernandez, to bring the Fish within a run.
The bullpen held its own in relief of Anibal as Chris Leroux pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings, and Clay Hensley followed with a 1-2-3 seventh.
Then in the top of the eighth, the Marlins loaded up the bases for a chance to do some damage. Uncle Wes and Cogz singled, and Hanley walked to load the bags, but only a sac fly from Jorge Cantu could plate a run in the bases loaded, no out situation. Dan Uggla struck out and John Baker grouned out to end the inning, along with the Marlins chances of winning the game.
With one out in the eighth, it was Josh Willingham who broke Clay Hensley's streak of five appearances without allowing a run. The Hammer once again doomed his former team, hitting a solo shot off of Hensley to break the tie, and ultimately give the victory to the Nats.
The Marlins have lost five of their last six games, and head to Chicago a season-high three games under .500.
Since it is important for fan morale to look for a silver lining on the cloud that is a flailing ball club, FishStripes gives you..
Things That Did NOT Suck About This Game:
1. Chris Coghlan was pretty in pink, going 3-for-4 and scoring a run with the aid of his Breast Cancer Awareness bat. (Since your bat will be auctioned, Chris, FS recommends the addition of pink to your game day wardrobe. May we suggest...)
2. After six straight games with one or more errors, the Marlins defense managed a big fat zero in the "E" column. Of course, they still lead the league in errors with 30, and are on pace for about 150 this season, but, you know--small victories.