Realmuto’s single in 10th gives Marlins 2-1 win over Nats
J.T. Realmuto capped a wild 10th inning with a none-out, bases-loaded single Saturday night, and Miami snapped a streak of eight consecutive home losses to Washington, winning 2-1.
The Marlins beat the Nationals for only the second time in the past 18 meetings.
”It has been hard,” Miami’s Miguel Rojas said. ”It’s really hard to finish. Credit to the Nationals, because they keep battling.”
This time the Marlins closed with a flurry. Magneuris Sierra reached on a bunt single to start the 10th against Kelvin Herrera (1-1). Rojas tried to sacrifice, collided with catcher Spencer Kieboom leaving the box and was awarded first base for obstruction.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez protested briefly, but plate umpire Tim Timmons said Rojas had the right of way because the bunt rolled some distance.
”I had obstruction because the ball was not in the immediate area of the plate,” Timmons said. ”It wasn’t clear whether Herrera was going to field the ball, or the catcher. The catcher can field the ball, but he can’t obstruct the runner and clear the runner out of the way.”
Martinez said Rojas should have been called out because he had no chance to beat out the bunt, and argued Timmons interpreted the rule wrong.
”He screwed up, plain and simple,” Martinez said. ”Clearly the rule states that it’s not obstruction. There’s no way he was going to be safe on that play. No way.”
After a single by Brian Anderson loaded the bases, Martinez tried a five-infielder, two-outfielder alignment, bringing in right fielder Bryce Harper. Realmuto foiled the strategy with a pop-fly single down the right-field line that fell beyond the reach of Michael A. Taylor.
”It’s kind of the risk you have to take,” Martinez said. ”I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen guys hit hard ground balls to turn double plays.
”The ball barely is fair. It’s just a tough break.”
The Nationals tied the game in the ninth on Daniel Murphy’s one-out RBI single off Kyle Barraclough. Third baseman Rojas made a diving stop of Taylor’s two-out grounder and threw him out to end the inning and strand a runner at third.
Six Miami pitchers allowed only five hits. Brett Graves (1-1) lowered his ERA to 7.84 with a perfect 10th for his first career win.
”It’s awesome,” Graves said. ”I’ve been waiting for a while to do it. It’ll stick out in my mind for a long time.”
Miami starter Trevor Richards allowed three hits in six scoreless innings and struck out eight. He has an ERA of 0.48 in his past three starts.
Washington’s Gio Gonzalez allowed only one run in seven innings but remained winless since May 28. He matched his season high with 114 pitches.
INTERPRETING THE RULES
Rojas knew the rule on the obstruction call following his bunt.
”Because the ball is in the middle of nowhere, I’ve got the right to run to first base,” Rojas said. ”When I found myself with no lane, I tried to run by the guy and get interference.”
There are rumors the Nationals are in talks with the Marlins to acquire Realmuto before the trade deadline, which lent irony to his 10th-inning heroics.
”If that guy was on our side it wouldn’t have happened,” Harper said. ”Tough luck.”
MORE TRADE TALK
Miami manager Don Mattingly said the organization is more unified under new CEO Derek Jeter in its approach to the trade deadline. In the past the Marlins were midseason sellers, but they now want to retain talent that can help transform them into contenders, Mattingly said.
”The whole organization is together on the philosophy. We want to keep our players. We’re trying to win,” he said. ”If we’re talking about moving a guy, it’s a guy that we probably don’t think is going to fit with us when were ready to go.”
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (neck) rejoined the team to continue his rehabilitation after seeing a specialist. He said he’s feeling better and hopes to resume throwing soon.
RHP Jose Urena (2-10, 4.63) will start the series finale Sunday for Miami against RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.44). Urena is 0-8 at home this year and has the worst run support of any starter in the majors.
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