Hermida's HRs lift Marlins to win in extras
Jeremy Hermida hit two late-inning home runs Saturday, and that's only a small part of the reason why he is enjoying the season so far.
Hermida hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning after tying it with a two-run shot in the ninth, and the Florida Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 9-6 Saturday for their sixth straight win.
"During the regular season, I don't know if you can ask for any more fun, not so much today but what we've been able to do the past couple of days and the first 11 games," said Hermida, who had a career-high five RBIs.
"It's been a blast. We're just out there having a good time with it and rolling with it as long as we can," he said.
The Marlins improved to a big league-best 10-1 record after rallying for their second straight extra-inning win. On Friday night, Hermida's 10th inning single proved to be the winning run.
Hermida has three home runs this season - all against Washington - and the home fans, who are pulling for a team with the worst record in the majors at 1-9, paid a lot of attention to Florida's left fielder.
"They were ragging on me after the first one, but after the second one, most of the people were actually giving me some congratulations so it was nice," Hermida said.
Hermida's first home run - off closer Joel Hanrahan, who blew his second save opportunity in as many games - was a two-run shot. It came with two outs in the ninth.
The go-ahead drive came off Wil Ledezma, who had just relieved Julian Tavarez (0-1).
"Down by three, it's hard to get those wins," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I could see one run or two runs, but three runs to come back and tie the ballgame and then win it, it's big."
Florida fell behind 5-0 in the first when Austin Kearns hit a grand slam off Josh Johnson. Washington led 6-2 after two, but had just one hit in the game's final 9 1-3 innings.
"We have to step on their throats," Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "Instead of trying to coast. ... We have to have a little bit more attitude."
The Nationals, who lost a league worst 102 games in 2008, dropped the first seven games of the season before finally winning, 8-2 on Thursday against Philadelphia.
"We should have won the series already," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "This is very disappointing and discouraging. It's deflating."
Acta's bad day began when center fielder Elijah Dukes reported late for pregame stretching. According to Acta, Dukes was making an appearance at a local Little League event - which was encouraged by the Nationals - but he was still benched.
Roger Bernadina started in center field instead, and while making a difficult catch on Dan Uggla's fly ball in the eighth inning, he broke his right ankle. Bernadina has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Kiko Calero (1-0), Florida's fifth pitcher, worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.
Ross Gload led off the 11th with a walk off Tavarez. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. Wes Helms reached on an error by shortstop Alberto Gonzalez.
The Nationals scored six runs in the first two innings off Johnson, who was last week's NL Player of the Week with a 2-0 and a 0.57 ERA.
Johnson was on the verge of his first loss until Hermida got going.
"I love Hermida. I loved him before, but I love him even more now," Johnson said.
Scott Olsen, who was traded to Washington by Florida over the winter, had two horrible starts, and was much better. Hen pitched seven innings, allowing three runs - one unearned - and six hits. He walked one and struck out five.
OF Justin Maxwell will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Bernadina on the roster. ... Kearns' grand slam was the second of his career. The last came on May 21, 2002 - also against the Marlins. Washington purchased the contract of INF Alex Cintron from Triple-A Syracuse. Cintron pinch hit and struck out. ... Florida has homered in six of 11 games. They're 4-1 in games they don't homer. ... Acta believes a possible new contract for Zimmerman is a positive development. "It will mean a lot for the kid, our franchise and the fans. Whenever it happens, it's going to be worth it because this guy means a lot to this ballclub," Acta said. "He deserves it." Zimmerman declined comment: "no answers here," he said after the game.