In the second inning with two runners on base, Nolasco smacked a ball to deep center. Harper ranged back but lost the ball in the sun, allowing it to fall in for a two-run double. Espinosa bobbled the relay throw, missing a chance to cut down Rob Brantly at home. And with that, the Marlins had a 3-0 lead.
“It was one of the brightest days I can remember playing in,” right fielder Jayson Werth said. “Sun was in charge out there today.”
Jackson surrendered two more runs in the fourth inning, and he was yanked from the game with two outs in the fifth after 80 pitches. It was his shortest outing since his shelling on June 28 in Colorado, and the second-most runs he has allowed in a game this season. Johnson was concerned Jackson was too slow on the mound, maybe tired or weighing every hit too much. Pitching coach Steve McCatty told him to pick up the pace.
“I’ve just got to do a better job of making pitches out of the stretch with men on base, a better job of damage control,” Jackson said.
Marlins cleanup hitter Giancarlo Stanton continued to torment the Nationals. He crushed the first pitch he saw from reliever Christian Garcia in the seventh. Stanton homered in each game this series, and hit .405 against the Nationals this season.
The Nationals dropped another game against their division adversary and won’t face them again. Instead, they begin two three-game series against the Mets and the Braves, teams they have a combined 21-9 record against. The Philadelphia Phillies, at 7-5, are the lone division opponent with a winning record against the Nationals this season, and the teams will play each other six more times. As for the Marlins, they took advantage of their last chance to face this Washington team.
“Everything they hit today found a hole,” LaRoche said. “What few balls we did hit didn’t find any holes until late. One of those days. . . . Oh well, go to New York, take care of business.”