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Too little, too late as Marlins lose 2nd straight

Zac Gallen’s strong home debut was overshadowed by the Marlins’ bad bullpen.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins offense hibernated through much of Wednesday night’s game and their bullpen allowed the Nationals to pile on in a 7-5 loss.

Patrick Corbin: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K on 100 pitches

Zac Gallen: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K on 91 pitches

The rookie right-hander Gallen was making his first career start in Marlins Park, and for five innings, he looked incredible. He racked up 15 swinging strikes, including six on his cutter. A dangerous Nats lineup failed to get any extra-base hits against the 23-year-old.

In the bottom of the third, Gallen helped his own cause with a line drive single to center, then came home on Harold Ramírez’s RBI single. For the fifth time in the last six games, the Marlins scored first.

However, Washington greeted Gallen rudely in the top of the sixth—his third time through the lineup—with three consecutive hits, including an Anthony Rendon single which tied things up at 1-1.

Don Mattingly yanked him there in favor of Wei-Yin Chen. Despite the bloated earned run average, Chen had quietly performed very well in May and June (albeit mostly in low-leverage situations). First baseman Matt Adams has historically struggled against left-handed pitching (.211/.242/.364 in 414 PA), so you can understand why Mattingly liked the matchup.

It didn’t go according to plan:

(Two of the runners who scored on Adams’ homer were inherited from Gallen, distorting his final line.)

The Nats added three more runs of insurance in the ninth against Tayron Guerrero. He has the unfortunate distinction of being the first pitcher in Marlins history to issue four walks and a hit by pitch without completing a full inning of work.

Of course, no lead is totally safe in the hands of Washington’s bullpen. A Marlins rally pressured Davey Martinez to bring in his closer, Sean Doolittle. That insurance proved to be huge because Curtis Granderson ripped a three-run, bases-clearing triple to make it 7-5.

Doolittle whiffed JT Riddle to put the fire out.

Thursday’s series finale features starters Stephen Strasburg and Sandy Alcantara. As an interesting wrinkle, both of them have borderline All-Star cases; the outcome of this particular game could go a long way toward determining whether either one squeezes onto the NL roster. First pitch approximately 7:10 p.m.

Nationals vs. Marlins box score (Baseball Theater)

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