Perhaps some Nationals fans had already called their season, reading the writing on the wall of an eight game deficit in the division with a little over two weeks left to play, but for the Washington faithful who haven't, tonight may have provided a glimmer of hope.
The Marlins looked to dash those dreams early as they got to Max Scherzer immediately, Dee Gordon singling and after Ichiro popped out, Christian Yelich smashed one out to centerfield, giving the Fish the lead 2-0.
In the second, the Nationals got one back, Clint Robinson turning on a 95 MPH offering from José Fernández and parked it in the seats for a solo shot, 2-1 Marlins.
Scherzer and Fernández traded zeroes after that until the bottom of the sixth. José, throwing to Ian Desmond with Bryce Harper on third, actually struck the shortstop out swinging but the ball got past Realmuto and Harper came home from third and tied the game.
Fernández would be done after that having racked up his pitch count. His final line was five and two third's innings pitched, two runs on five hits, two walks and eight punch-outs. Scherzer's line was very similar, an inning longer, a walk more, two strikeouts less.
Felipe Rivero was pitching in the eighth for the Nationals when the Marlins took the lead. After Ichiro and Justin Bour singles that put things first and third, Marcel Ozuna grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Ichiro to score, 3-2 Marlins.
With his typical set-up men unavailable, Dan Jennings opted to turn to José Ureña, hoping he could bridge the gap to AJ Ramos. Unfortunately, he could not, and to make a long story short, by the end of the inning Ureña was no longer pitching and the Nationals had a 4-3 lead.
Top of the ninth saw Miguel Rojas hit a solid double off of Jonathan Papelbon, stretching to third after a poor throw by Bryce Harper. Rojas came home to score off of a Dee Gordon sac fly and when the Nats could not score in their half of the ninth we were sent to extras.
To the benefit of the Marlins pen, it did not last long as José Lobatón was able to induce a sac fly off of Brian Ellington in the 10th, bringing home Jayson Werth from home to win it 5-4. Christian Yelich made a solid throw to the plate but Realmuto, continuing an evening long theme, couldn't come up with it cleanly. It capped off a tough evening for the rookie catcher, who also struck out twice, left four men on base and had two passed balls (one registered) that led to Nationals scoring opportunities.
4:05 EST start for game three tomorrow, Justin Nicolino vs. Jordan Zimmermann.
Hero of the Game: Miguel Rojas (+.455)*
Goat of the Game: José Ureña (-.597)**
Play of the Game: Miguel Rojas doubles to right in the 9th, advances to third on throwing error (+.314)
*I just wanted to note that we dutifully plug in the numbers whether or not they actually reflect the outcome of the game.
**With that in mind, Ureña did have a bad showing but I think it could fairly be argued that Realmuto deserved to wear this one.