The Marlins won their second straight game after snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Nationals Thursday.
The win meant the Marlins took two of three from the Nationals, giving them just their third series win since the All-Star break.
The Fish jumped all over Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin right out of the gates and got out to an early lead. After Lewis Brinson reached on a fielder’s choice and stole a base, Brian Anderson followed up his big game last night by bringing Brinson around to score with an RBI-single to right.
Jorge Alfaro then launched a slider to center field for a home run that drove in Anderson and Jesús Sánchez, who walked earlier in the inning, and gave the Marlins a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Since Aug. 3, when the #Marlins began experimenting with Jorge Alfaro playing different defensive positions, Alfaro is hitting .299 (20/67) with 14 RBI, 6 doubles, 8 runs scored and that home run. He has at least one hit in 13 of 18 starts in that span and 6 multi-hit games.— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) August 26, 2021
Alfaro added another hit in the fifth which got him up to .300 with hits in 13 of 18 games, including seven multi-hit games, since the Marlins began using him in different positions.
The early onslaught continued in the second inning when Bryan De La Cruz lead off with a single, then Miguel Rojas lifted off to left for a two-run homer. Following his walk and homer off Corbin tonight, Rojas is now hitting .433/.500/.800 with three home runs against him in 34 plate appearances in his career.
After cruising through the first three innings, Hernandez found himself in trouble when he loaded the bases in the fourth with one out. However, Hernandez struck out Tres Barrera and got Lane Thomas to pop out to escape the jam and keep the Nationals off the board.
In the fifth inning, Alcides Escobar hit a pop fly to left-center and Brinson and De La Cruz both went for the ball. They got to it at about the same time and the ball was in De La Cruz’s glove, but the two collided and the ball popped free. Brinson would leave the game with a left thumb sprain and x-rays were negative, per the Marlins.
Mattingly called the report after the game “a sigh of relief.”
Juan Soto then crushed a no-doubt home run to right-center that cut the lead down to 6-2. Hernandez finished off the fifth and put together a solid line in his second start off the IL: 5 IP 6 H 2 R 1 ER 1 BB 4 K.
A big focus for Hernandez while recovering from his second injury of the season was working on his changeup. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the development of that pitch will be crucial for Hernandez moving forward.
“It is a pitch he’s gonna need,” Mattingly said. “Keep him from being a two pitch guy, and I know they’ve been working on getting the ball to both sides of the plate.”
In the fifth, Anderson continued to heat up as he flared one into right that scored Magnueris Sierra from second base to put the Marlins up 7-2. It was his third hit in two nights, and his third RBI as well.
The Nationals would add a run in the sixth inning, and neither team would score again until the Nats added two in the ninth. They would bring the go-ahead run to the plate in that inning, but Dylan Floro—the third reliever the Marlins used in the ninth—would get the final out to secure the win.
De La Cruz, who was acquired from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline for reliever Yimi Garcia, was 3-4 on the night, with exit velocities of 103.2 mph, 103.5 mph, and 102.1 on his three singles. Since making his Major League debut with the Marlins on July 30, De La Cruz is hitting .357 with an .872 OPS.
All three of his hits were on the first pitch tonight and De La Cruz said he was just being aggressive and looking for the fastball. Mattingly was a big fan of the approach.
“He didn’t wait around tonight,” Mattingly said. “He’s been impressive from the standpoint of just how mature he looks as a player. Kinda see it defensively, pretty polished all over the outfield. His at bats, he controls the zone for the most part and seems to know what he wants to do, has a plan when he’s up there, so he’s been impressive.”
He’s caught the eye of his teammates as well, including third baseman Brian Anderson.
“Every time he’s at the plate you feel like he’s gonna barrel the ball hard,” Anderson said.
Up next for the Marlins is a three-game weekend set with the Cincinnati Reds.