The Marlins had five players finish with multihit games as they bombarded the Nationals with 13 hits en route to a 6-4 victory Thursday, giving Don Mattingly his first win as Miami's manager and spoiling Washington's home opener at Nationals Park.
Miami was all over right-hander Tanner Roark from the start, beginning with a three-run first inning and continuing after a one-hour, 25-minute rain delay. Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria each drove in two runs. The Nationals chose to send Roark back out onto the mound after the delay, but he struggled through four innings and was tagged for nine hits, all of them singles, and allowed four runs.
"I thought we swung the bats good all day," Mattingly said. "We've actually swung the bats pretty good all year, other than we haven't gotten out of the gate. So we got out of the gate and kind of let them back in."
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run triple in the first inning off Marlins starter Adam Conley andBryce Harper added a solo shot in the seventh, the 99th homer of his career, to provide the scoring for the Nationals, who couldn't cash in with runners on base.
"We just didn't get any two-out hits," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "The difference in the ballgame is that they got two-out hits. ... Sometimes, it's one of those nights when the ball's falling their way and it's not falling your way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Phelps weathers the storm: The long rain delay meant a quick outing for Conley. So, after the rain delay, David Phelps got the assignment, and logged four important scoreless innings. The right-hander, who threw a scoreless inning Tuesday on Opening Night, wiggled out of some jams, but got through the fifth on 59 pitches, with 36 strikes, plus three strikeouts.
In the fifth, he scratched through a first-and-second, one-out situation by retiring Ryan Zimmerman on a fly ball to right. The quick out came immediately after Mattingly made a mound visit, and opted to remain with Phelps. The threat ended on Jayson Werth's groundout to second, a play the Nationals challenged wether first baseman Justin Bourapplied the tag.
"[Mattingly] kind of told me, 'Hey, listen, we're going to meet at 5:30, and if they get going quickly after that, Adam is going back out," Phelps said. "If not, it's going to be you." More >
Too many pitches for Roark: Roark arrived at Spring Training determined to win a job in the rotation, and his confidence impressed the Nationals. But he struggled from the outset Thursday, with a 31-pitch first inning in which he allowed three runs before being forced to sit during the rain delay.
To keep himself sharp during the delay, Roark made about 20 throws every 10 or 15 minutes, in the batting cages Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux discussed whether to send Roark back out, but decided to after he said he felt good.
One and done for Conley: Conley, arguably the most impressive Marlins' pitcher in Spring Training, had his 2016 debut limited to one inning due to the rain. The lefty was unable to protect a three-run lead, as he surrendered the two-out, three-run triple to Murphy. Conley struggled with his command, throwing 31 pitches with just 15 strikes. He walked two and struck out two, including Wilson Ramos to strand Murphy at third.
If the rain delay was an hour or less, Conley would have returned.
Nats can't capitalize on chances: The Nationals had plenty of opportunities for offense. They drew nine walks and added six hits, yet hit just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
"We did a good job giving ourselves chances, we just didn't get hits," Zimmerman said. "But we had traffic on the bases, and that's all you can ask for. Their guys made some pitches when they needed to. Long day, but we gave ourselves plenty of chances."More >
QUOTABLE "It gave me a good feeling. I look at it, from our team. You don't want to let one [loss] turn into two and three, and now you've got a little pressure on you. It's good to get the first one. This one gets us on the board. We've got a day [off Friday], and hopefully our 'pen gets back intact a little bit." -- Mattingly, on first win and not letting losing snowball
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Phelps gave himself a boost, delivering a two-out, run-scoring single that put Miami up, 5-3, in the fifth. The RBI was the first in Phelps' career. He had been 4-for-40 (.100).
REPLAY REVIEW The Nationals crafted a small rally in the fifth, putting runners on first and second with two outs to give Werth a chance to cut into the deficit. Werth bounced into a grounder to second baseman Dee Gordon, whose throw to first took Bour off the bag and forced Bour to tag Werth running down the line.
Werth was convinced he avoided the tag, however, prompting the Nationals to challenge the ruling. After a two-minute, 20-second review, the umpires ruled the call on the field stood and the Nationals had squandered another scoring chance.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Righty Tom Koehler, who paced the Marlins in innings (187 1/3) and starts (31) last year, takes the mound for the first time Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET. In his career, Koehler is 3-6 (4.64) against Washington.
Nationals: The Nationals are off Friday, then return to Nationals Park to play the Marlins on Saturday. Righty Joe Ross begins his first full season in Washington trying to build off an impressive rookie campaign. After being called up from Double-A for a spot start, Ross eventually earned a spot in the rotation.