The Marlins are too much for the Washington Nationals.
At least that’s what’s happened so far this season as the Marlins — who blanked the Nationals 7-0 on Wednesday night at Marlins Park — have been the better team head to head.
The Marlins now lead the season series 5-4. This week, with the Nationals starting aces Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer in two of the three games, the Marlins were still able to win a pair and take the series.
“Our guys like playing against them,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s a challenge. Our guys are not intimidated. Our [hitters] have decent numbers against [Nationals pitchers].”
Unfortunately for the Marlins, they are 46-51 against the rest of baseball and just 14-15 against the rest of the NL East. The second-place Marlins (51-55) trail the Nationals (63-43) by 12 games in the division.
Wednesday’s game ended with a spectacular catch by Giancarlo Stanton, who raced to the right-field corner, jumped up and stole what would’ve been a two-run homer by Brian Goodwin, a former Miami Dade College star.
“It’s about time!” Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich said he yelled to Stanton as he ran over to offer his congratulations.
Yelich was alluding to the fact that Stanton has crashed into the wall a few times this year but had seemingly come up empty each time. On one occasion, he even lost his glove over the fence after crashing into the wall.
Mattingly, asked about Stanton’s catch on Wednesday, also made light of the situation.
“He’s had like four chances, right? He’s missed three in a row,” Mattingly said. “[Marlins left fielder Marcell] Ozuna said he’s been working with him.”
Turning serious, Mattingly said: “No, that was really good. It was nice to be able polish that off and get that shutout.”
Miami’s other heroes on Wednesday included Dee Gordon, Yelich, Derek Dietrich and … Vance Worley.
Gordon, who extended his hit streak to a career-high-tying 13 games, went 3 for 4 with three runs scored, two steals, a triple, a walk and an RBI. He was also brilliant defensively.
Yelich, who made a diving catch in center, and Dietrich each hit two-run homers in the Marlins’ four-run fifth inning, and Worley pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just two singles and zero walks. Yelich finished with three RBI.
Worley entered with an 0-2 record and a 6.42 ERA. He ended the night with his first win since May 12, 2016, when he was with the Baltimore Orioles.
“It was just keeping the ball down, and the defense played big behind me,” said Worley, who faced the minimum number of batters and dropped his ERA to 5.31. “Our bats came alive. It made it so I wasn’t trying to throw the perfect pitch.”
Ironically, Worley was with the Nationals during spring training before getting released.
“We just didn’t have room for him,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “He was sharp tonight. We were topping the ball. We couldn’t center it.”
Marlins reliever Odrisamer Despaigne pitched the final two innings to complete a combined four-hitter.
The Marlins ended the 12-game hit streak of Bryce Harper, who went 0 for 3, grounding into a pair of double plays. Harper started the day ranking second in the majors in OPS, trailing only Aaron Judge of the Yankees.
With the win, the Marlins have now won four consecutive series for the first time since 2015.
“We’ve been working hard as a team, on and off the field, to make things fun in here,” Worley said. “You guys know how hard it is when you are hearing about team sales and trades. And now that [the trade deadline] has passed, we are just having fun.”