Marlins drop to 0-3 with 6-1 loss to Nationals
- Article by: HOWARD FENDRICH
- Associated Press
- April 4, 2013 - 9:37 PM
WASHINGTON - Thanks to Justin Ruggiano's homer in Game 3, the Miami Marlins pushed a run across the plate.
They only have that one run so far this season, but you've got to start somewhere.
"Great to get on the board," catcher Rob Brantly said with a grin, "you know what I mean?"
The Marlins ended their season-opening scoreless streak at 19 innings. Their losing streak? That stands at three after a 6-1 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday capped a sweep.
Miami was outscored 11-1 in the series.
"We'll be fine. We've got a young team. We're all maybe a little amped up," said Ruggiano, who drove a 93 mph pitch from right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to right in the second inning.
"It's three games. I don't think anyone here is really panicking," Ruggiano added. "I think we're just trying to get settled in, get to know each other and get comfortable, and we'll be all right."
The St. Louis Cardinals began the 1943 season with 26 scoreless innings against Cincinnati, the post-1900 major league record, according to STATS.
The Marlins have a payroll that's under $45 million this season after trading away several top players, including Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez. And yet this isn't exactly a new problem. Last season, they batted .244 — the worst average in franchise history — and scored 3.8 runs per game — their fewest since a 3.6 average in 1993, their expansion year.
"Definitely happy with the way we swung the bats today," said rookie manager Mike Redmond, whose Marlins are 15 for 90 so far, a .167 batting average. "We've just got to keep hanging in there and we'll get that big hit to push us over the top."
Miami's pitching was solid this series, and Wade LeBlanc (0-1) limited Washington to three runs — two earned — and five hits in five innings.
Ryan Zimmerman's three hits included a two-run double. Jayson Werth padded the margin with a three-run homer in the seventh, a sign that his broken left wrist of last season is gaining strength. Bryce Harper had another eventful day, collecting two hits for the third consecutive game, taking an elbow to the face while scoring a run, and later getting thrown out trying to steal third with cleanup hitter Zimmerman at the plate.
Coming off a majors-best 98-win season in 2012, the Nationals now open a three-game series at the defending NL Central champion Cincinnati Reds on Friday. The Marlins travel to New York to face the Mets.
Zimmermann followed sterling outings by Nationals starters Stephen Strasburg (seven scoreless innings Monday) and Gio Gonzalez (six scoreless innings Wednesday) by giving up only one run. But the Marlins got at least one runner on in every inning against Zimmermann, who nonetheless kept getting out of trouble.
Relievers Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen finished up.
With the temperature in the 40s on a cloudy afternoon, LeBlanc gave up one-out singles to Werth and Harper ahead of Zimmerman's double off the wall in center in the first inning. Harper collided with Brantly while scoring and momentarily grabbed his chin, but said afterward he was fine.
In the third, Denard Span led off with a single and reached second on an error charged to LeBlanc. Harper then delivered an RBI single to make it 3-1, taking second on right fielder Giancarlo Stanton's error. Moments later, Brantly threw out Harper at third.
"It's a weird thing. No matter how many baseball games you play, that first one of the season is always like the first one you've ever played," LeBlanc said. "I don't know how to explain it."
NOTES: The Marlins plan to put 1B Casey Kotchman on the 15-day DL on Friday with a strained left hamstring. Redmond said he'll have "a little bit of a tryout over at first base." Gregg Dobbs played there Thursday and juggled a grounder from Washington's first batter, Span, but gathered himself and stepped on the bag. ... On Friday against the Mets, Marlins RHP Alex Sanabia will make his first appearance in the majors since Sept. 24, 2011.
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