The poor play the Marlins brought back with them from the road remains.
The Washington Nationals stretched Miami’s losing streak to eight Monday night after putting a pounding on Brad Hand early and Kevin Slowey late and cruising to a 9-2 victory in front of a paid crowd of 18,788 at Marlins Park.
The last-place Marlins, who had a 20-minute team meeting before taking the field for batting practice, are now one loss shy of equaling the longest losing streak they had a year ago during a 100-loss season and three defeats shy of tying the franchise mark of 11 consecutive losses (1998, 2011).
“The only way we can get out of this thing is somebody needs to step up and go out there and say it’s over, I’m done with it,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We either need a big pitching performance or a big hit or a big play to spark us and get us going.”
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Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, whom the Marlins jumped all over last week before they blew a 5-0 lead in the nation’s capital, made up for the shortest start of his career with seven strong innings Monday.
His lone blemishes: an RBI single by Reed Johnson in the second and a solo home run by Garrett Jones in the sixth.
“[Christian Yelich] came back to the dugout and made a comment saying his stuff was better than in Washington,” Redmond said. “I heard in Washington he was sick or battling the flu. He had more [velocity]. His stuff was much crisper [Monday night].”
On the flip side, Hand, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings in the same game Miami blew a five-run lead, got the hook Monday after giving up five earned runs and recording only nine outs.
Six of the Nationals eight hits against Hand went for extra bases, including four by the first seven hitters he faced. Washington pounded out 16 hits in all, 11 for extra bases — all that coming a day after the Marlins surrendered a season-high 13 hits to the Phillies.
Redmond said he’s not sure what he’s going to do with Hand’s spot in the rotation moving forward. Hand, who made the team out of camp as a long reliever, is filling in for the injured Jacob Turner.
Jayson Werth started the Nationals’ barrage Monday in the first inning when he hit a double off Hand off the top of the wall in left-center field. The play was reviewed to see if it had cleared the wall, but the call was upheld. Moments later, Werth came trotting home easily anyway when Bryce Harper tripled to center.
Tyler Moore then led off the second with a solo home run to right before Anthony Rendon doubled in two more runs with a rocket shot to left field.
“Just left too many balls up in the zone,” said Hand, whose ERA sits at 6.35.
Hand hit for himself in the third inning before Slowey replaced him on the mound. Slowey got through three innings of relief cleanly before the Nationals tagged him four funs in the seventh.
“It’s tough to cover those innings when you only get three out of the starter,” Redmond said. “I think Slowey did a nice job for those first three innings, and I think he just kind of ran out of gas.
“You can’t roll those guys out there every night. You’ve got seven guys down there. Our starters need to pitch deeper into games. That takes a little pressure off the bullpen. We haven’t been able to do that very well. That’s the key.”
The Marlins’ team ERA last season was 3.71, 11th best in baseball. Now 14 games into this season it’s 4.43.
Giancarlo Stanton, having the hottest start to a season of his career, had two more hits Monday to raise his average to .305.
Second baseman Derek Dietrich, who missed the final two games in Philadelphia with a bad back, returned to the lineup and singled in the eighth.
The Marlins loaded the bases with one out that inning against reliever Blake Treinen. But he struck out pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs and then got Jarred Saltalamacchia to ground out to escape without giving up a run.