Not many players have had success against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Marlins third baseman Martin Prado is one of the outliers.
Prado continued his dominance of one of the game’s best pitchers Friday, going 2-for-3 with a home run against the starter to lead Miami to a 4-3 triumph over the Nationals. In 16 at-bats against Scherzer, Prado has eight hits, one of those statistical quirks the veteran chalks up to chance.
“It’s hard for me to explain,” Prado said. “I’d be lying to you if I said I had his pitches or I knew his approach against me. He’s an aggressive pitcher and I pick my spots. Maybe I’m just lucky you know?”
Prado had a hand in three of the Marlins’ runs, lacing a single to right in the first inning and coming home on Derek Dietrich’s double off the scoreboard, and then hammering a Scherzer fastball over the left-field wall in the third for a two-run homer, his seventh of the season. In both cases, Scherzer tried to pitch Prado low, to no avail.
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“He made pretty good pitches today, but I put a good swing on it. Sometimes, that’s all it takes in baseball,” said Prado, who has reached base in 23 of 24 games and has a seven-game hit streak.
For the first time in franchise history, the Marlins started four consecutive left-handers, and Adam Conley was steady through five innings before faltering in the sixth. However, Kyle Barraclough bailed him out of a bases-loaded jam and Miami’s bullpen was solid the rest of the way to get the rookie his second victory of the season. A.J. Ramos earned his 23rd save.
“Throughout the entire end of that ballgame, the bullpen stepped up in a big way,” manager Dan Jennings said. “They really competed and challenged and battled that strike zone.”
The Marlins are 6-4 against Washington this year, their only winning mark against an NL East club.
Batting leaders collide
The top two hitters in the National League were on the same field as Gordon faced off against the man he is chasing for the batting title, Washington’s Bryce Harper. Gordon went 1-for-4 to drop to .332, while Harper was 1-for-3 to land at .334. And while Gordon playfully shook his head “no” when asked a question about the batting race between a speedster and a slugger, Jennings was excited about the matchup.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch unfold,” Jennings said. “As much as they are going to get to face off down the stretch here with interdivision play, it’s going to be fun.”
Another rehab start for Cosart
Jarred Cosart will make another rehab start, likely at Single A Jupiter depending on weather, but Jennings said that was more about getting the righty stretched out than his poor outing Thursday, when he allowed four runs on five hits in five innings.
“We spoke to the pitching coach and the manager and they were very pleased with what he did up until that last inning,” Jennings said. “I think he hit the wall and at that point some of the results were not good. Bottom line is, this is him building up, getting the work in and getting his pitch count to certain level.”
Yelich remains question mark
Christian Yelich was not in the lineup once again, as his injured right knee remains sore and swollen, and his status for the weekend series remains in doubt.
“We’re back to trying to get it to go away,” he said. “We’re just shooting to see how it feels every day. I’m hopeful, but I can’t say definitively [if he will play]. It’s pretty frustrating. It’s one of those things that didn’t seem like a big deal when it happened and it’s turned into a bigger deal.”
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-12, 3.98) at Washington Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park
▪ Sunday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (4-3, 4.23) at Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (8-6, 4.14), 1:35 p.m., Nationals Park