Giancarlo Stanton helps Marlins rip through Nationals to snap skid
MIAMI (AP) — Stephen Strasburg against the woebegone Miami Marlins figured to be no contest, and it was.
Miami won in a rout.
Giancarlo Stanton tied a career high with five RBIs, including a three-run homer off Strasburg, and the Marlins broke an eight-game losing streak by beating the Washington Nationals 11-2 Tuesday night.
Both benches and bullpens cleared briefly in the fourth inning when Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Nationals’ Ian Desmond engaged in a heated, nose-to-nose conversation at home plate. Desmond was unhappy that Marlins starter Tom Koehler threw several pitches high and inside.
Among the tunes playing in the Miami clubhouse after the victory was Alice Cooper’s "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
"It feels great," Saltalamacchia said. "We faced a great pitcher. It feels great to be able to make him work tonight."
Strasburg (1-2) allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings. He fell to 2-3 at Marlins Park with an ERA of 8.61.
"We’ve put together some pretty good at-bats off him over the last couple of years, and had some good games against him," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We had a nice plan. Guys were aggressive. He threw quite a few fastballs early in the count, and we were ready for them."
That has often been the approach of hitters against Strasburg so far this season.
"They don’t want me to get comfortable," the right-hander said. "A lot of the dominant pitchers with swing-and-miss stuff, that’s what their approach is going to be. I felt I had a good mindset today. It was one of those days where it seemed like every pitch I threw, they hit it."
Koehler (2-1) allowed one hit and five walks in seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.89. The performance was a welcome change for a team that had an ERA of 6.12 during the losing streak.
Desmond became annoyed when he barely avoided being hit by an inside pitch from Koehler. Desmond hollered at Koehler and spat toward the mound.
Saltalamacchia then said something to Desmond, and their testy exchange began. Umpire Marty Foster stepped between them, and the confrontation didn’t escalate.
"I wasn’t necessarily thinking that he had intentions of hitting me," Desmond said. "It wasn’t intended to escalate to what it did, but was heat-of-the-moment stuff."
Koehler said he went into the game mindful of the need to pitch inside against the Nationals.
"Guys tend to get a little upset when they get crowded," Koehler said. "They had been attacking fastballs over the plate. It’s our job as starters to make sure they know that’s our part of the plate. We’ve been beaten inside too many times late in the game in the last couple of series because we haven’t established inside."
Stanton homered in the first inning, hit a two-run double in the fifth and scored three times. He came into the game ranked second in the majors in RBIs and now has 21. He’s batting .429 with runners in scoring position.
Marcell Ozuna tied a career high with four hits, and Casey McGehee had three of the Marlins’ 15 hits.
"We talked Monday about having guys step up," Redmond said. "We saw the entire team step up. We feel like our lineup can do a lot of damage, and I think you saw that tonight."
The Marlins beat Washington for the first time in five tries this season, and for only the third time in 16 meetings since July.
Zach Walters hit his first career homer in the ninth for the Nationals, who totaled five hits.
Miami led 3-0 before Strasburg got an out. Christian Yelich and Ozuna singled, and Stanton followed with a homer to center field.
The Marlins added three more runs in the second. Adeiny Hechavarria led off with a triple on his 25th birthday, Ozuna singled home a run and McGehee hit a two-out, two-run single.
Strasburg struck out five to increase his NL-leading total to 33, but his ERA rose to 6.00. The Marlins added five runs in the fifth to make it 11-0.
"One of those games," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "But nonetheless it’s important that we play well, and we didn’t. That’s troubling."
NOTES: Nationals OF Denard Span (concussion) might be ready for a rehabilitation assignment by the end of the week, Williams said. … Nationals OF Nate McLouth returned to the lineup after sitting out two games because of a sore left knee. … Ozuna was back in the lineup after missing one start with a bruised foot. … The Nationals’ Steven Souza singled for his first major league hit. … Miami RHP Jose Fernandez tries to improve to 12-0 at home when he pitches Wednesday against Tanner Roark.