An early two run lead + only 1 earned run in 6 innings from your ace + four scoreless innings from your bullpen really should = a win. But, when you factor in some miserable defense and add a few missed opportunities at the plate, it equaled a Marlins loss to close their series with the Nationals.
The Fish looked well on their way to a sweep when they grabbed a two-run lead in the first inning against John Lannan. Chris Coghlan led off with a walk, Omar Infante singled, and Hanley Ramirez hit his second RBI double in as many nights, to put the Marlins up 1-0. An RBI groundout from Gaby Sanchez made it 2-0, and then the bats decided to take a bit of a snooze against Lannan.
JJ mowed down the Nats through 3 1/3 innings before Jayson Werth busted up the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo home run--the Nationals' first ever home run off of JJ--to cut the Marlins lead in half.
If the Marlins could cut the 5th inning out of the game, they might be celebrating a sweep of the Nats as we speak. Unfortunately, MLB does not currently allow portions of games to be deleted from existence, so we'll be forced to include it in our recap:
Wilson Ramos reached base when Hanley airmailed a throw to first for an error, then followed up that gem by mishandling a hit from Ankiel that deflected off his glove and allowed Ramos to move to third. A groundout from Danny Espinosa tied up the game.
The defense didn't improve too much in the sixth. After Ian Desmond singled, John Buck tried to throw him out stealing second, except he appeared to be aiming for Chris Coghlan in center. Desmond moved to third on the error, and scored on a single by Ryan Zimmerman to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead.
The Marlins did manage to tie up the game again in the sixth. John Buck singled, Wes Helms doubled him to third, and Buck scored on a groundout by Emilio Bonifacio. But once Tyler Clippard took over for Lannan in the sixth, the Marlins bats took the rest of the night off.
After JJ's night was over, Mike Dunn handled the seventh, and Ryan Webb gave the Fish two scoreless innings before Clay Hensley worked the tenth.
And then the luck of the bullpen ran out.
In the 11th, Edward Mujica ended the pen's streak of 20 innings without an earned run when he gave up a two run homer to Adam LaRoche, putting the Nationals in the lead. One nice shiny spot in the inning was Chris Coghlan's fantastic grab at the warning track to rob Wilson Ramos of extra bases, but the damage was already done, and the Marlins entered the bottom of the 12th down two runs.
Sean Burnett handled the Fish in the bottom of the inning, and the homestand ended with a loss.